The proposed December date by the Federal Airports Authority, Nigeria, (FAAN) to deliver the new Lagos terminal, which is presently under construction, is no longer feasible. This is as stakeholders pick holes in the airport design.
Henrietta Yakubu, the acting general manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN told BuisnessDay that she is not sure of the definite date the terminal will be delivered but assured that by early next year, passengers should be able to use the Lagos terminal.
Yakubu said that the federal government is taking its time to build a terminal that will triple passengers’ traffic, since the terminal will be having bigger facilities to accommodate more people.
“We are remodelling to ensure the facilities are working so that by the time we have the new terminal, there will be no issue of breakdown of conveyor belts. We expect that all the facilities will function well to ensure seamless transition for our passengers,” she added.
A visit to the proposed new terminal by BusinessDay showed that some of the state-of-the-art facilities, which federal government promised to install at the Lagos terminal before construction commenced are yet to be installed.
Some of these facilities include wide concourses, conveyor belts, check-in desks, baggage drop services, state-of-the-art scanning machines, baggage reclaim and baggage handling facilities, international retail concessions, restaurants and washrooms, amongst others.
But experts in the aviation sector are beginning to pick holes at the manner the terminal was constructed, stating that certain environmental and technical factors were not considered before the construction of the terminal commenced.
“When you build a terminal, you build it for the airlines and the customers not for the government, but unfortunately, airlines were not carried along when the terminals were constructed.
“The whole essence is to provide a service and a service is supposed to be a business so that it can be mutually benefitting and friendly to customers,” Nogie Meggison, President, Airline Operators of Nigeria told BusinessDay.
“Murtala Muhammed Airport that was built in 1976 has 12 packing fingers and if in thirty years time, we are having 20percent of that amount of fingers in the new terminal, then it means we do not have parking space at the new Lagos terminal,” Meggison added.
Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation has also complained about the terminal disclosing that the government is considering pulling down the control tower and the fire station in the old terminal to another location to guarantee safety.
To do this, Sirika said it would take federal government a sum of N3billion for new control tower, while a new fire station would cost the country over N2 billion.
“The Chinese terminal project is a loan of $500 million from China and $100 million counterpart funding from Nigeria. The Abuja and the Lagos terminal that is nearing completion is blocking the control tower, fire service station and sitting on heavy cables.
“If I had had the $500 million, I would have used it to develop the Murtala Muhammed Airport as hub of aviation in Nigeria and West Africa,” the minister added.
Dele Ore, who served as Chairman of Airports Concessioning Committee in 2009, told BusinessDay that the legal frameworks such as the procurement act and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) act were not implemented before the construction of the new terminal.
“Before the construction of the new international terminals, we asked for the master plan for all the airports but they could not produce it. If they do not have the master plan, it means that they do not know the amount of space they have for expansion. All they had in mind was aesthetic painting of terminals, which was called ‘remodelling’,” Ore added.
Nigeria and China had in 2013 signed $500 million loan at a concessionary rate of 2.5 per cent interest for the construction of four new international airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano