CitiBank, Others Endorse Nigeria’s Aerotropolis Project, As Two Chinese Companies Gives Commitment to Invest in the Aviation Sector
The US Citibank, the Federal Airport Administration (FAA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have all endorsed the Ministry of Aviation’s proposed Aerotropolis project, pledging to be fully involved in the various phases of its implementation. This followed a detailed presentation on the project by the Ministry’s delegation on the Investors’ Roadshow to the United States led by the Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah.
At its corporate headquarters in New York, top management team of the bank led by its Head, Global Investment Banking, Mr Ray Mc Guire said the Aerotropolis project offers a huge opportunity for a major infrastructural development; second to none on the sub-continent, around the nation’s airports. Mc GUIRE said Citibank’s prepared analysis and roadmap for actualising the aerotropolis project objectives were consistent and in tandem with the model already adopted by the ministry and meets international standards and best practices.
He said the financing, operational and execution modules that were explored and considered most practicable are exactly what the Aviation Ministry is adopting so far, including with respect to discussions about the most appropriate potential investors, collaborators and partners. Mc Guire expressed optimism that with its huge client database, it would not be difficult to secure investors to buy into the project, and pledged the bank’s expertise in terms of providing needed advisory services and financing to investors currently studying the investment opportunities under the aerotropolis undertaking.
At the US Department of transportation (DOT), the Nigerian team held high top-top policy meetings with the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, Julie Ottenberg, Assistant Administrator of the FAA, Jonathan Dols (in company of the Heads of Air Infrastructure Development, Air Traffic Organisation and the General Counsel and Senior Trial Attorney for Consumer Protection) where the team was assured of the DOT and FAA’s support, collaboration and partnership on infrastructure development, airport management systems and consumer protection initiatives.
Ottenberg and Dols both offered to provide all needed and necessary assistance to Nigeria, based not only on the special relationship that exists between both nations but also because of its decades of experience and expertise in airport infrastructure development, financing, management and overall safety record/oversight.
The duo noted that with 3,300 public access airports in the US, and over 200,000 flights per day to manage, their knowledge and experience will be quite helpful to their Nigerian counterparts and pledged their readiness to collaborate on necessary safety initiatives in Nigeria’s aviation industry.
Speaking on behalf on the Nigerian delegation, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ms Anne ENE-Ita reiterated Nigeria’s willingness to continue to collaborate with the US on initiatives such as ETS and promoting safety in Africa. She identified areas of capacity building in Nigeria’s aviation sector that would be of mutual benefit and interest to both countries to investment in the broader aerotropolis project as well as collaboration between American and Nigerian domestic Carriers.
Highlight of the meeting was a comprehensive briefing by the General Counsel of the FAA and a Trial Attorney on Consumer Protection Initiatives and Enforcement Processes, which demonstrated the validity of NCAA’s current rule making on its own Consumer Protection Regulations and Passengers’ Bill of Rights. Both FAA and DOT agreed to support the process of institutionalising the consumer protection enforcement process in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, China’s state-owned construction giant, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC) has given it’s commitment and readiness to invest in the development of Nigeria’s aviation sector, especially the construction of Aerotropolis within the major international airports in Nigeria.
Overseas Operations Vice President of the corporation, Yu Zhende who made the pledge at the headquarters of the corporation in Beijing, China during a visit by the delegation from the Aviation Ministry currently on investment drive in China said Nigeria is a major country in Africa hence the development of her aviation sector would establish the country as a major hub on the African continent.
Yu Zhende said a delegation from CSCEC will soon visit Nigeria to study and deliberate more on the concept of Aerotropolis development, and expressed the readiness of the company to sign an agreement and mobilise to site as soon as the Nigerian and Chinese governments come to a compromise.
“We will send a delegation to Nigeria to conceptualise this project, subsequently we will work with the Chinese government to finance this project”, Zhende stated, stressing that it will take the support of both governments to actualize the project but “we will move as fast as the Nigerian government wants us to move”. He assured that financing the project will not pose any serious challenge for the Chinese government once an agreement is reached.
Similarly, Huawei Technologies Company of China in conjunction with their IT solutions partner, SITA has presented a Joint Proposal to the Aviation Ministry seeking to provide IT Infrastructure for the new terminals.
The proposals were made when the Nigerian delegation visited Huawei at their headquarters in Shenzhen where discussions and meetings were held with top management of the enterprise group. The discussions centered on the fundamentals of FAAN’s desired IT infrastructure for the new terminals.
In addition, the delegation met and held discussions with Airport Design Specialists CSWADI and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD). They also met with airport specialized equipment suppliers CIMC- Tianda (for Avionics bridges and Apron buses) as well as CASRI (for airport baggage handling systems). All companies expressed strong desire to partner with the Ministry in the development of aviation industry in Nigeria.
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