Facilities at Nigerian airports obsolete says FAAN MD

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The state of disrepair of the nation’s airports was underlined Tuesday with disclosure that their facilities and equipment are obsolete having been acquired over three weeks ago.

In a damning revelation at the Senate,  Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, said facilities at the airports like the generators, air-conditioners, elevators and conveyor belts were not functioning as expected because the agency could not afford modern ones to replace old ones.

Port Harcourt International Airport was a fortnight described in a survey as the worst in the world according to the Guide to Sleeping in Airports which surveyed over 26,000 travellers for their views on airports around the globe.
Unhelpful staff, a severe lack of seating and broken air-conditioning were some of the reasons the airport was given the worst airport title.

At the meeting with the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Aviation, Dunoma cited FAAN’s invitation to the German manufacturers to fix a faulty giant power generator  installed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

The manufacturers however declined as the brand was no longer in production and the parts no longer in stock.

The FAAN MD regretted that the facilities were being over-stretched because new ones had not been acquired  in recent years.

According to him, the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos was designed to provide services to about 11 million air travellers yearly; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja being built to accommodate nine million, while Mallam Aminu Kano airport in Kano, could take care of six million passengers.

He, however hinted of efforts being made to acquire new ones as part of the current remodelling project at all the nation’s airports.

Dunoma, noted that the agency was committed to executing the airport massive terminus project strictly, according to the master plan, adding that Nigerians should not compare the cost of constructing them to what some state governments had put in place.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Aviation, Binta Bello, said budgetary provisions alone was not enough to transform the nation’s airports, stressing that a former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, made use of intervention funds to execute her remodeling project.

Coincidentally, Oduah is a member of the ad-hoc committee.

Bello lamented the state of the Port Harcourt airport, especially the departure wing which she attributed to non-completion of the project started by the last administration.

She hinted that the Committee set up to work out the possibility of setting up a National Carrier had concluded its work and that her ministry had submitted the report to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.

“We are waiting for President Buhari’s approval so that we can take the draft bill to the Federal Executive Council once it is inaugurated,” she stated.

Both the FAAN MD and the Permanent Secretary agreed that privatising the nation’s airports may not be feasible for now because only three of them are currently viable.

Bello said alternative source of funding like development levies on all international passengers as being done worldwide, is in consideration.

Author: Lanre OWOEYE

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