From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Discourse on how to develop and run world class airports facilities in Nigeria was again brought to the fore at a forum in Lagos on Thursday with experts advocating among different models the unbundling of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN, injection of private investments as well partial concession of some equity in the country’s airports management.
Speakers Nigeria Travel Mart 2019 colloquium with the theme “Airport Concession and Options for Airports Development in Nigeria” also posited that having monopolized the operations and management of the Nigerian airports for decades without meaningful success, the federal government should explore other avenues in order to bequeathed world class airport facilities in the country.
Guest Speaker and Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji called for the unbundling of the country airports management agency into three organizations for what he called a more efficient and progressive airport development initiative and create an enabling environment that will attract private sector investments and tourism development in Nigeria.
According to him, the bodies should include the Nigeria Airport Development Agency, Airport Management Company Plc and the Federal Airports Properties Company Ltd.
He said “It is a glaring fact that our airports are not just underdeveloped but also grossly underutilized. In aviation today, the modern trend is that airports have become huge sources of revenue generation. Revenues accrue from both aeronautical and non-aeronautical sources, with non-aeronautical revenues now becoming the dominant sources of airport development, stability and aviation sustainability. Airports are now big business hubs with hotels and other ancillary entities springing up in major international airports across the globe.”
“In Nigeria, we have not exploited even up to 10 percent of the possible non-aeronautical revenues because our airports are not yet developed to the level of harnessing the revenue potentials available on the land side (non-aeronautical sources of revenue).”
He said” the Act that set up FAAN, giving it the power to dominate in an area that can be open for private sector entry has to be reviewed.”
Chief Executive Officer of NigeriaTravelsMart, Mr. Simon Tumba noted that “for decades we have seen the state of our airports, especially our major gateways in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Kano. Over the last few years the Federal government has made investments to enhance the customer experience in these airports. Truth be told; we are lagging behind, despite the efforts of the Federal Airports of Authority /FAAN).”
Tumba affirmed that “Our humble opinion in NTM is that the government should explore a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Concession our airports carrying along the workforce at FAAN. With Nigeria’s God given natural and Human Resources, and a solid leapfrogging plan and strategy, we should be aiming for a futuristic airport of $2-5billion. We have the population, the market and geographic position to make and realize such aspirations.”