Nigeria has become the only country in Africa to have its two airports certified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standard and the only country in West Africa sub-region with internationally certified airports.
This was made known by the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Muhtar Usman during the ceremony to mark the certification of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at the weekend.
Last September, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos was certified, thus recognising two major airports in the country as meeting global safety standards.
The Director General said the certification has improved the rating of the two airports in safety standards in the international aviation circles and would attract more global carriers to the country, which would boost air transport and create more jobs for the citizenry.
As corollary to the progress made in the industry with the certification, Captain Usman hinted that this would reposition air transport to contribute more to the GDP of the country because it would boost passenger movement in domestic and international destinations.
He also disclosed during the ceremony that Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu airports are scheduled for completion in the 1st, 2nd and 3 red quarters of 2018.
Usman who handed the certificate to the Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma said it was an epoch making moment for the country.
"The attainment of this safety milestone is quite significant in view of the fact that less than 25 percent of international airports in Africa and Indian Ocean are certified.
"It is also interesting to note that with the certification of Abuja airport today, Nigeria has become the first state to achieve the certification of more than one international airport in the AFI (Africa/Indian) Region. However, we are not resting on our oars, as the certification of Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu airports are scheduled for completion in the 1st, 2nd and 3 red quarters of 2018 in compliance with the Abuja Ministerial declaration and safety targets of 2012."
Dunoma in his remark restated FAAN's commitment to continue with the present tempo in the development of the other international airports
"We made a commitment to continue with this tempo and soon we will go to Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu but for today we have achieved a milestone. I want to recognise the DG NCAA because anytime I talk to him, certification is always the main topic so I want to thank the NCAA team for their commitment. Let's sit down and continue to improve on the safety situation because that is all that it's all about, safety."