As there is no chance of completing and delivering at once the four new terminals constructed at the Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt airports, the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) has called for the pooling of resources to speedily complete the ones at the Lagos and Abuja airports because of their strategic importance.
The managing director of FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma who made the plea in Lagos when the senate committee on aviation went on oversight of aviation agencies appealed to the lawmakers to prevail on the contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to expedite action and complete the two terminals because it (FAAN) makes huge revenue from the two facilities.
He said “these are where we have passenger turnover” adding that FAAN generates its revenues internally.
He said the agency’s revenues were dwindling and appealed for some appropriation to enable it connect the existing terminal at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal with the new one under construction.
Besides, he said some runways were in poor state and “we have to fix them.”
He said FAAN was ploughing on with fixing the runways at Abuja, Enugu and Akure airports even though its revenue had nosedived partly due to airlines’ inability to pay their debts.
He blamed the airlines’ inability to pay on the scarcity of aviation fuel (JET A-1) and called on the committee to look at the issue with a view to addressing it.
“Facilities are being overstretched and FAAN as an organization does not have any appropriation in the 2016 budget. This organization solely depends on internally generated revenue for maintenance of capital and semi-capital projects.
“As it is now, FAAN is working on two or three airports’ runways that have critical issues. We are already deciding on the Abuja runway and we will be seeking public co-operation as the runway will be closed. Also there are the Enugu Airport runway and that of Akure which may not be much of a problem because of the low traffic volume there,” said Dunoma.
In his response, the vice chairman of the committee, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah commended FAAN for being a good manager of funds.
He said paucity of funds had been a recurrent complaint and pledged the committee to look at the issues.
However, the pilot-turned lawmaker who flew in a private aircraft to have a feel of what the pilots had been complaining about tasked FAAN to ensure that the runways are clearly marked to improve safety.
“If the instrument landing system (ILS) has technical issues, it will not be an issue if the runways are marked properly. You don’t need to deplete your internally generated revenue to do runway marking. This will engender safety and aircraft approaching. If they don’t see the navigational aids they will see the markings clearly,” he said.
“A situation where workers at the airport pay toll charges is morally wrong when they work here. Workers at the airport must have access to their offices and even those who are trying to catch flights, the payments can be collected when they are leaving or after the passenger has been dropped so as for them not to miss this flights. That is how it is done world over, five minutes can make a lot of difference.”
He also asked FAAN to ensure that illegal fees collected at airports across the country were done away with.
“A situation where workers at the airports pay toll charges is morally wrong. Workers at the airport must have access to their offices and even those who are trying to catch flights the payments can be collected when they are leaving or after the passengers have been dropped so that they (passengers) do not miss flights. That is how it is done all over the world. Five minutes can make a lot of difference,” he added.