MMIA shut for repairs from October 1, Nigeria Air Project Halted by FG

A major overhaul of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos has been announced by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo. Starting from October 1, 2023, all international airlines will have to relocate to other airports in the country, as MMIA will undergo extensive renovation and expansion.

The minister also revealed that the airports’ concession, the launch of the new national carrier, Nigeria Air, and other contracts in the aviation sector have been put on hold. He said that the existing hangers of Dominion and EAN will be demolished to make way for the new terminal two of MMIA.

Furthermore, the minister gave a three-month deadline to airlines to clear out their unserviceable aircraft from the airport premises, and instructed them to move their ticket sales offices to the new terminal as soon as possible. He said that the decision was taken to address the complaints of Nigerians and foreigners who use the old terminal, which he described as “an eyesore” with faulty lifts and an unwelcoming entrance.

The minister was accompanied by the Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Kabir Yusuf Mohammed, and other aviation stakeholders during his tour of the international airports in Lagos.

“Airconditioning systems are not effective, among other things, and we have this new terminal that the Chinese built which is under utilised.

“Although, there have been lots of questions as to why the new terminal is not being utilised optimally, the simple reason is that the new terminal was designed without provision to take big planes. I wondered why that happened.

“I have been asking questions as to how they would design an international gateway such as the Lagos airport terminal two without a provision to take the big planes.

“We do not have the avio bridges that can even connect with big planes, which is also a challenge. That has been the problem we have not been using this new terminal.

“It would interest you that, 60 per cent of FAAN’s revenue comes in from the Lagos gateway. It is one of the major gateways into the country.

“So what is the solution to this? I have said we must use what we have for now. I have told them that I am giving the international airlines, and every other company utilising the facility till October 1, 2023, to move from the old terminal to terminal 2.

“What we are going to do temporarily is to shut down the old terminal and sort out all the issues regarding the renovation.

“So like many other countries, we are going to do emergency procurement to buy the big buses and move them to where the big planes stop in an orderly fashion, both arrival and departure so that you can have some kind of comfort with this new facility.

“The long term plan is that we are going to find a way to build avio bridges for the big bodies coming in.

While commenting on the airport concession and national carrier, Keyamo said the projects would have to be suspended until further notice.

He said: “There are issues already on ground, before I came in, like concessions, Nigeria Air, among others, all of that for now have been suspended until I brief Mr. President as to what is happening regarding all of those noises.

“I always appreciate his honesty. He brought me here to correctly advise him, so I’m looking at all the agreements and everything that was signed to correctly inform him.

“I owe my total loyalty to Nigerians to have the best of aviation services, and to Mr. President, and that’s what we are doing.”

The minister pointed out that terminal 2 faced difficulties because it lacked avio bridges and hangers for large aircrafts.

He said: “Some of those private terminals, those private hangers, have to go for public purpose. We will relocate them, so we can have a functional beautiful gateway to Nigerians.”

The minister expressed his dismay at the inadequate security measures at the airport, after discovering that more than 187 runway lights that were installed at the international runway had been stolen.

“The main reason we are yet to be utilize the 18R/36L is the absence of light leading to the runway. It’s pathetic that security operatives are around yet these facilities are taken. There should be an in-house person involved in this arrangement.

“These lights cannot be sold in ordinary markets. Who are the buyers? Well, we are going to provide logistics to FAAN to enable them bring the lighting meant for Kano airport to Lagos since we already have an emergency here,’’ the minister said.

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