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Five foreign carriers complete relocation plan into Lagos new terminal

By Wole Oyebade
26 August 2022   |   4:22 am
No fewer than five international carriers have completed plans to relocate Lagos operations into the new terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos,..

Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu (left); Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, during inspection of the new terminal at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, recently.

No fewer than five international carriers have completed plans to relocate Lagos operations into the new terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, to end months of under-utilisation of the $100 million facility.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) raised the optimism as it also assured that the Federal Government was working on evacuation modalities of buildings obstructing parking space of the new facility ahead of ramp expansion.

The Guardian earlier reported that the ultra-modern facility, inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, in March 2022, has remained deserted in the last five months due to apron space constraint for operating aeroplanes to park.

Only Nigeria’s flag carrier, Air Peace, has migrated operations from the old international terminal to the new one. It was learnt that only Ghana’s African World Airline (AWA) and Togolese Asky expressed interest to migrate too.

However, dominant airlines like British Airways, United Airlines, Air France-KLM, Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar, Ethiopia, Etihad and Kenya Airways that fly wide-bodies allegedly declined offers to move into the new facility despite its world-class customer experience.

Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, on the tour of the facility with the Minister of Information and Culture, confirmed that arrangements had been concluded to move five carriers into the facility on September 1. Yadudu said about eight carriers did indicate interest and five had been cleared, putting into consideration many parameters.

“I would like us to understand that aviation is a very sensitive subject. We would rather take out time than to start on the wrong footing. But that does not mean that nothing is done. From September 1, five more airlines are scheduled to start operations from the new terminal. The lots of network and integration that ought to be done took time. More than eight showed interest and five are starting soon,” he said.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described the new terminal as one of the poster projects of the government in its critical infrastructure drive, adding that no administration has shown enough commitment to change the narrative about the aviation sector.

Mohammed said the new terminal would not displace the old terminal, but would complement it for transiting passengers. Besides changing the travel experience of many Nigerians, the new terminal will provide job opportunities directly and indirectly for over 10,000 people.

“This new terminal at the Lagos International Airport is a world-class edifice put together with the collaboration of Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China. With the capacity to process 14 million passengers yearly, it is an exciting travel experience with facilities in any airport, anywhere in the world. There is a whole new experience in terms of aesthetics, comfort and friendly customer service.

“This edifice and the others are testaments to the commitment of the Buhari administration’s unprecedented infrastructure development covering roads, bridges, rail, water dams and sea ports. No administration in the history of Nigeria has done this much, especially at a time of scarce resources,” he said.

He clarified that a $500 million loan secured from the Chinese Import-Export Bank for five airport terminals in Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano would be repaid as programmed.

He lamented the tax-to-gross domestic product is affecting revenue for the government, urging Nigerians to demonstrate patriotism by contributing to the tax net.

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