The Federal Airports of Nigeria (FAAN) has begun massive investment in airports especially the Lagos and Abuja to ease facilitation and improve passengers’ comfort.
Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, said what the government was trying to do was plough back revenue to airport infrastructure.
She stated that the government was very concerned about infrastructure, the reason it took the pain to refurbish the Abuja airport runway in a record time of six weeks.
Very instructive was the completion of the Abuja airport runway in six weeks. This runway was constructed 30 years ago and had been in poor service condition for more than 20 years. Convinced that the runway needed upgrade and modernisation, the Minister of Transportation and FAAN gave the order that it be done no matter the cost, put at N5.8 billion.
Sources said the repairs for Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt were given the speed they require after Acting President Yemi Osinbajo visited the airport and complained about decrepit facilities he saw.
FAAN, however, said prior to the Vice President’s visit, there were plans to prepare the airport for certification by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) before the end of the year.
A visit by New Telegraph to the Lagos and Abuja airports show there have been improvements at the terminal with signage at every point, directing passengers and other visitors to their destinations. The airports are now passengers friendly.
Our correspondent also observed that the cooling system had been upgraded and waiting areas created for passengers at both arrival and departure halls outside the terminal, which had helped to reduce the number of people in the halls.
Penultimate week, the agency installed screening machines that will screen items and put an end to manual checking of luggage, which many passengers have complained about.
Travellators, escalators, some conveyor belts that were out of use and the check-in counters have been fixed, just as FAAN is equally carrying out new roofing of the Lagos terminal building including total refurbishment of the terminal and flooring of relevant areas.
Ranked as the fifth busiest airport in Africa, with an average of 7.9 million-passenger traffic achieved in 2015, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), strategically located in Lagos, Nigeria’s most vibrant and commercial city, has all it takes to create an air transportation hub for Nigeria.
Aviation expert, Mr. Chris Aligbe, recently said although the Lagos airport is strategically positioned, the absence of a strong national carrier has marred efforts to get natural airport hubs in the country.
“Nigeria is the best location in Africa to build a hub, yet we have not developed it. We cannot develop hubs in our country. Globally, private airlines have developed airports as hub in two countries.
“So, airlines have a role to play in developing air transport hubs. Nigeria can become a hub if it has two or three airlines that are very strong, even if one is not strong enough, but one that can feed the whole of Africa. People coming from America transiting through Lagos then can go to Accra, they go to the Niger Republic, they go to South Africa; they go to Cairo; they go everywhere in the continent”.
Experts say having an airport hub in Lagos or any other city with a vibrant national or flag carrier would mean more flight traffic coming into the airport from other countries.
The economy also benefits because any thriving airport is a source of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in itself. The more passengers or freight move through the airport, the more the airport makes money.
Source: New Telegraph