New Telegraph

FG to concession 17 more airports

BLUNDER

Some of the country’s airports were not designed as international hubs, but operate international flight

 

Contrary to earlier plans that only four airports would be concessioned, not less than 17 other aerodromes could equally be concessioned, a situation that would free the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of some duties and costs. Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this at the weekend, adding that other airports would also be handed to the private sector that would handle them efficiently and economically for the benefit of air travelers and other airport users.

 

Sirika equally disclosed that many of the airports run by FAAN would be made economically viable, stressing that the airports’ concession project would be finalised by the end of this year.

 

The concession process for Nigeria’s four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano is currently on-going. FAAN manages 21 airports on behalf of the Federal Government. It was gathered that the concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano airports would relieve government enormously and help it to pull back on major investment in airport business, while ceding that power to the private sector.

 

Sirika said: “For investments in the airports, airport concessions, starting with the five international airports, are also excellent opportunities for investments. Other airports too gradually will be out on concession.

 

There are a lot of state airports, a lot of private airports that needs resources and investments and I’m sure the owners/ operators of these airports will welcome investments from the private sector to enable them achieve their strategic goals for implementing these projects.

 

“So, the Nigerian aviation industry offers several opportunities for investments, and we as the regulator, we are working at the regulations to unbundle them and make it easier for people to invest in all areas. This is especially in general aviation, which has significant sectors and we are going to be unbundling our regulations to make the entry requirements much easier so that people are encouraged to invest.”

 

In his address at the conference, the Director, Commercial and Business Development, FAAN, Sadiku Rafindadi, stated that the Nigerian aviation market was huge, yet untapped. He however noted that the plan of FAAN was to fully tap Nigeria’s potential and harness the available opportunities within the 21 airports managed by the Authority.

 

The concession of four major airports in Nigeria is moving rapidly, according to the Ministry of Aviation, in line with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (establishment, etc.) Act, 2005 and global best practice.

 

Sirika had, early this year, explained that the decision to concession the airports was to ensure that government was relieved of control of the aviation facilities. Also, he assured industry workers, especially those of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), that no worker would lose his or her job on account of the exercise.

 

According to the minister, the concession is a step in the right direction as it would boost the nation’s earnings. He disclosed that the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminals  would bring investment worth over N30 billion annually, which would be aided by the construction of a rail line to link both the domestic and international terminals. He stated that there was an urgent need for infrastructure investments and modernisation, saying the facilities required investments in runway maintenance, among others.

 

According to him, “there is relatively low asset utilisation due to the limited opening hours of other smaller Nigerian airports; lack of terminal capacity as the airports fall short of gates, stands and check-in desks. “The airports have not been designed as international hubs but operate separate international and domestic terminals.”

 

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