FG Says “Nigeria’s Major Airports Not Designed For International Operations”

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The four major airports in Nigeria located in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano were not designed as international facilities, the Federal Government said on Tuesday.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this was why the facilities had been put up for concession, adding that the airports were operating below expectations.

Sirika disclosed this at a stakeholders’ webinar during his presentation on Nigerian Airport Concession Strategy.

In June, the Federal Government put up the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports for concession for a minimum of 20 years.

It provided the explanation in a document on frequently asked questions about airport concession released by the Federal Ministry of Aviation.

In a document on the status of the road map/public private partnership projects concession of airports made available to our correspondent, the government named the airports/parts that were up for concession.

They include the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos: international and cargo terminals; and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja: international, domestic and cargo terminals.

Others include the Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt: international, domestic and cargo terminals; and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano: international, domestic and cargo terminals.

Speaking on the objectives of the concession project at the webinar on Tuesday, Sirika said, “The airports in Nigeria are currently operating in a suboptimal environment, most notably due to factors that will have to be improved as part of the public private partnership programme.”

He stated that there was an urgent need for infrastructure investments and modernisation as all airports required investments in runway maintenance, navigation aids as well as terminal facilities.

The minister said, “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.”

On transaction advisers for the project, Sirika named them to include Infrata, Dentons, Proserve, Ciena, and Templars, describing them as reputable firms that would advise the Federal Ministry of Aviation.

He said the concessionaires would provide the investment required to upgrade the existing terminals, take over the new terminals and maintain them over a period of time to be determined based on financial assessment of each transaction.

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