The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has revealed that the ongoing terminal construction at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, is 98% done and would likey be operational before the end of March 2022,
Speaking during a joint working visit of the Senate Committee of Aviation, led by Senator Smart Adeyemi and the House of Representatives, led by Nnolim Nnaji at the Authority’s headquarters in Lagos at the weekend, Yadudu revealed that the agency has proposed a revenue budget of N188 billion for the year 2022, an increase of 50.4%, compared to that of 2021, which was N125.4 billion.
He said though FAAN has no operating surplus, in December 2021, it remitted N16.7 billion to the Federation Account as contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, despite the effect of the pandemic during this period and that it has shifted its focus from the aeronautical sources of revenue to the non-aeronautical, in order improve its revenue performance.
He said that recovery to pre-COVID levels may take between three to four years as the effect of the pandemic would likely be felt till 2024.
“At the moment, passenger Traffic is still about 56% of Pre-COVID traffic. Nonetheless, the year 2021 was a better year when compared with 2020”, he said.
Yadudu also said that the Authority is still faced with the challenge of debt recovery, especially debts owed by Arik Air, which he said is a significant portion of the Authority’s debt portfolio but that henceforth, sanctions would be imposed for non-payment for various services rendered to private airport terminals.
“The Authority is taking steps to terminate non-performing concession agreements and engage new concessionaires. We hope to make significant progress before the end of the second quarter. Car parks automation at the various airports is presently going on, before the end of the year we should have achieved a great result.
“We commend the effort of the Committees on Aviation with respect to intervention so far in the recovery of Arin debts, inherited by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). However, we need further assistance to bring the issue to a logical conclusion as the huge debts are still outstanding”, he said.
Earlier on, during a visit to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) the joint committees rebuked domestic airlines for incessant flight delays and said the National Assembly will soon come up with legislation that will empower the NCAA, to grant permits to any willing foreign airline to carry out domestic operations.
Adeyemi said domestic operators don’t care about the effects of protracted flight delays and cancellations on passengers, hence he said the joint committee have decided to put in place measures that would empower the NCAA to grant an operating license to any of the foreign airlines that would be willing and able to deliver on prompt and safe air lifting of Nigerians to all their domestic destinations.
He also said that airlines’ performances records with the NCAA would be released to the public and a caveat on which one is healthy or not would accompany such public information. He said these measures are necessary so that Nigerian travellers would be treated with dignity.
Responding, the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the complaints by the legislators against domestic operators are well-founded and pledged that henceforth, the agency will be more firm against infractions by the airlines especially those that concern consumer abuse.
“We will take the issue of flight delays we take very seriously. I can assure that we will be looking at the schedule of the airlines, looking at the number of aircraft in their fleet, we will look at their maintenance programme; the number of the flight crew so we can determine the optimum number each airline can do as that is a contributory factor for the delays,” Nuhu said.