Abuja, P-Harcourt airports to be concessioned for 25 years

Federal Government, weekend, disclosed that the new terminals in Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport would be opened for flight operations by the end of October this year.

This is just as the terminals would be concesssioned for 25 years. The two terminals funded by the China-Exim Bank are under construction.

Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this during the opening of Legend Hotel, Lagos Airport Curio Collection by Hilton also said Lagos and Kano airport new terminals, also under construction, would soon be opened.

Sirika also used the occasion to reiterate the Federal Government’s resolve to concession major international airports in the country. He, however, said this does not imply ceding the assets completely to the private sector as the designated airports would be handed to the “concessionaire for a maximum of 30 years.”

Sirika said while many Nigerians have taken to social media celebrating the new terminal in Kotoka International Airport, Ghana, “the facility would be a child’s play compared to the new terminals to be commissioned in Nigeria soon.”

Meanwhile, the minister disclosed that the terminals would be concessioned for a period of 25-30 years to enable the private sector run them profitably while providing first class services to Nigerian air travellers and foreigners.

According to Sirika: “this (The Legend Hotel) is unique not only because it is 10 steps to aircraft but because there is nothing like this in the continent of Africa and I believe this is the beginning of the journey of the investments of private sector into aviation to achieve the kind of aviation that we need in this country.

“I will like to say that within few months, within the first quarter of next year, A380 aircraft would be landing in Nigeria. We have facilities to receive such an airplane. But this year, before the end of this month, we would be opening the terminal in Port Harcourt, which is ready even to the apron operations. We will also be opening the terminal in Abuja. They would be ready for operations.

“We noted our brother in Accra, Ghana, who opened their terminal and it is well celebrated on Twitter. And I think the Twitter will not have a space to handle once we open Abuja and Port Harcourt this October, in Sha Allah.

“Of course, there are many other terminals we will open, but having said this, you are sure and I am sure, including my friends, gentlemen of the media, you have not forgotten that the intent and purpose of this government regarding aviation is to concession these airports.”

“We don’t believe that government can run these facilities and run them very well. We must hand them over to the private sector.

“Because we are social democrats in nature and as APC which is the government in power we do not intend to cede the assets completely to private hands.

‘’We intend to concession it for period of 20, 25 or 30 years in such a way that they would be run very well and very efficiently and for the private sector to make their money and for us to get the services that we need as we are leaving the country.

“Nigeria is the place to be. If you come to Africa without being to Nigeria, you have not been to Africa. Nigeria has 180m people with GDP of half trillion dollars.

This is a massive huge market. Every business comes here.

“If you talk about passenger traffic in air transportation, Ghana is just 450,000 passengers per annum last year. Here with all the dilapidated structures around the airports which we are working hard to improve very soon, Nigeria did about 16m passengers, that’s 30 times Ghana market. We’re so lucky by our geography to be in the centre of the world. We are close to all locations in the world.

“That’s God-given, that’s our geography and we thank God for that and that also supports aviation activities. This   is our premier airport and Lagos is doing 8m passengers for now.

‘’We are going to spend a lot of money in Lagos to improve it very soon and also to concession it.

‘’We are in the process and we plead with our friends, gentlemen of the media, to report us positively so that investors will come forward to invest in these airports to create what you are seeing in Istanbul.

‘’Istanbul now, they are on their way to make it the busiest airport in the world with 150m passengers and it started from 8m just like ours. The intention of this government is to create a hub around Lagos and Abuja,” the minister said. (Vanguard)

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