The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), in a recently held webinar tagged “Nigerian Airports Concession: HOW FAR, SO FAR?” and in a communique made available by Mr Olumide Ohunayo, acknowledged the necessity for the government to concession airport terminals.

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ASRTI remarked that the concession is neceassry in order to reduce the financial burden on the Federal Government for airports infrastructure and development management.

The session noted that the concessioning of the terminals should not just be a departure from the status quo, but with an objective to deliberately drive regional competitive hubs as well as mega carriers that will operate in those hubs.

Participants during the webinar enjoined the Ministry of Aviation to ensure that the terminal concession process is transparently conducted in compliance with the extant laws and due process to avoid post-agreement controversies and rancour as previously experienced.

They declared that the Government should, in its current concession plan consider the totality of all the 22 airport terminals.

The session was informed of the recruitment of a Strategic Communication Consultant who is expected to disseminate important information on the concession process for the benefit of all stakeholders.

To this end, they remarked that the Federal Government should define and clarify what is to be concessioned within the airports.

According to the stakeholders, there is need for government to allay the fears of the unions and employees of FAAN, with regards to the planned concession as all existing legal, labour, and other complications arising from previous experiments (Nigeria Airways (WT), NAHCO, etc.) should be conclusively resolved.

“The process must be FAIR & TRANSPARENT”.

ASRTI suggested that the controversies surrounding the various concession agreements between FAAN and the following: AIC Limited, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, Maevis Limited, Toll Plaza Operator and all other such agreements should be resolved as soon as possible by both parties involved before moving on to sign new concession agreements in order not to discourage prospective investors.

It was also recommended that the concession be done with the objectives of protecting users’ interest through the provision of innovative and quality services by service providers as well as leveraging private sector funds amenable to modern technologies, to provide improved infrastructure comparable to global standards.

They added that the government should have minimal participation in the airport’s terminal management and infrastructure development but should concern itself primarily with aeronautical services and regulatory interventions and oversight.

The webinar also recommended that the proposal for a connected rail system designed to ensure interoperability of the domestic and international terminals at the MMIA Lagos be revisited to enhance passenger facilitation and air cargo management.

Another recommendation made by the organisation is that there is a need for aviation authorities in Nigeria to understudy successful models of terminal commercialisation and operation in other climes to gain a deeper understanding of airport concession and management so as to minimise controversies associated with it.

The organisation noted that the modest successes recorded in terminal infrastructure and services at the MMA2 should be improved upon and adopted as a strategy for the development of other terminals in the country.