Aviation unions fault airport concession bid over propriety, compensation plan
Aviation workers’ unions have raised fresh grouse against the airport concession plan and propriety of the exercise by the Minister of Aviation and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
While they noted that such exercise belongs to the FAAN’s Board of Directors, they also queried the lack of compensation for workers concerned in the plan.
The Federal Government, last year, announced preferred and reserved bidders for the concession of Lagos, Abuja and Kano international airports. In addition, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had disclosed that the former headquarters of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) offices in Lagos would be demolished to pave way for a proposed airport city.
Aviation workers, under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), had said details of the concession plan and airport city project showed a “self-serving” agenda and should be rejected by all.
At a recent congress held in Lagos, the workers lamented that both the minister and FAAN usurped the duty of the Board of FAAN, in deciding and executing airport concession. They added that the minister has not inaugurated any of the statutory aviation agencies’ boards in almost eight years.
Contrary to assurance that airport concession will not warrant job losses for FAAN workers, the unions argued otherwise, and expressed worries that the concession plan has no provision for compensations. Similarly, the agenda is in violation of provisions of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act (CAP F5) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Reviewed Conditions of Service 2021.
“Another ground is the assertion that the earmarked terminals require no further investments for the envisaged period of the concession coupled with the arbitrary fixing of profit sharing ratio (60:40) in favour of the concessionaire.
“Note that FAAN generates an average of N70 billion to N75 billion annually, and remits an average of N1 billion monthly into the Federation Account, while monthly salaries for the 8,000 staff currently stands at over N2.3 billion. So, what is the basis of underpricing the airports in favour of concessionaires? Also, the scope of the concession to the surroundings of the terminals, up to FAAN housing estates, did not take the assets valuation into account. This is unacceptable,” the coalition stated.
Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, in 2016 initiated and unveiled the Aviation Roadmap agenda at a twin stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos and Abuja.
The “developmental agenda”, aimed at “transforming” the sector, has deliverables like a new national carrier, concession of airports for efficiency, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, aircraft leasing company and creation of aerotropolis at major airports. Besides the trio of Lagos, Abuja and Kano airports that last year got designated concessionaires, none of the other deliverables have seen light of the day.