AIRPORT REMODELLING: Growing prospects of an unfinished surgery

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CHARLES KUMOLU reports that the deluge of doubts that trailed the commencement of remodeling of airports across Nigeria, is giving way to rays of hope, following the recent commissioning of some completed projects in some airports.

‘THE building looks modest,without the supposed glitter of a structure of its status.. Upon entering the ground floor of this 30-year old structure, people are seen queuing and randomly scattered within this boxlike hall. At various corners of the of the hall are used recharge cards.

Out of every ten people who approach the various counters, two leave unhappy. The cause of their anger is not in doubt. This reporter sat on an iron seat that could barely take 10  people, a visibly sad man came out of a door on the right and was mumbling to himself. As he sat dejectedly beside this reporter, he decided to open up a conversation. He was a traveller and had just made use of the airport convenience.

“Inside that convenience is rubbish. How can the management operate a place like this? Can you imagine what that place looks like?,” he asked not really expecting any answers. This reporter provided none but made way to the ‘offending’convenience. Indeed , it was an unsightly place to do’business’. Yet, there were two ladies at the door way asking everyone who walked in if they wanted toilet paper on one hand while they asked for tips on the other.

This was the scenario at the local terminal of Murtala Mohammed Airport,MMA 1. Lately, Nigerians have had to contend with sad stories about the state of airports across the country.

*Airport

*Airport

‘’For instance, in May this year; there was power outage at Nigeria’s premier Airport, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for three hours. Air  travel was completely brought to a halt.

Lack of maintenance

‘’That incident however, corroborated the position of many that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and others across the country have failed. Vanguard Features,VF investigation, revealed that MMA is overcrowded and poorly managed, while some across the country may not be said to be overcrowded, age and a lack of maintenance are now tell signs of decay’’

The above, is an excerpt of a 2010 special report by this reporter titled: Nigerian Airports – From Safety Tales to Infrastructural Collapse.

Similarly, another report published in 2011 by another medium, titled ;Decayed Airport Infrastructure: Tears Are Not Enough, observed thus: ‘’Recently, the minister of aviation, Stella Oduah, embarked on and completed a facility tour of some airports in the country where she shed a deluge of tears over the state of infrastructure at such airports. From the airport in Lagos to the ones in Ibadan, Benin, Delta State, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Bauchi, Abuja, Calabar, Owerri and Enugu among others, the story was shockingly, but familiarly similar: Obsolete infrastructure and broken down facilities. At every stop, including the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, the minister broke down and wept, perhaps, uncontrollably.’’

Perhaps, it is against the backdrop of these reports and others, that the Federal Government swung into action on the state of the airports  nationwide.

Accordingly, the indication

that the airports might be remodeled, emerged late 2010, when then Minister of Aviation Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, announced plans to embark on the rebuilding of new terminals for the nation’s airports.

‘’Government has gone ahead to also approve that we remodel our airports especially the terminals to meet international standards; what we see when we travel, even in the smallest countries in Africa, they have modern terminals; those terminals are so obsolete and we are trying to go modern and I want to assure you that in less than one year, we will start seeing knock down of some of these old terminals and bring up modern ones that you and I will be happy to have,” she said after a tour of the new facilities installed by Arik Air.

Due attention from federal government: Given that most government promises, rarely come to fruition in Nigeria, not a few gave it a benefit of doubt. But few years down the line,VF can authoritatively say that airports across the country are beginning to attract due attention. And even the harshest government  critique, can attest to this.

At the moment, findings showed that massive construction work is noticeable in the terminal buildings of Murtala Muhammed Airport (International Terminal), Murtala Muhammed Airport (General Aviation Terminal), Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (International Terminal), Port Harcourt International Airport, Kaduna Airport and Margaret Ekpo International Airport Calabar.

Other airports undergoing remodelling are: Benin Airport, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Yola Airport, and Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos.

Additional capacity

It was further discovered that the renovation and upgrade projects are basically on the redesign of the exterior facades, expansion of the footprint of some of the building to create additional capacity, redesign and construction of the interior of the buildings to give a modern look, among others.

While some are still undergoing the remodeling process, a few had been commissioned, clearing doubts that the projects might be abandoned. Restating, government’s commitment towards the project, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, said the  aviation road map, is designed to revolutionalise the aviation industry and increase revenue derivable from it by 300 per cent.

Oduah, who said this at the commissioning of the General Aviation Terminal, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Airport, Abuja, stated thus: ‘’The aviation road map, which is a creation of this administration, is designed to revolutionalise the aviation industry and increase revenue derivable from it by 300 per cent.’’

Explaining further, she said: ‘’This entails institutionalising world class safety and security standards, through institutional reforms, infrastructural development and development of airport cities (aerotropolis) that would transform airports into major employment, shopping, trading, business, leisure and cargo business destinations. I believe that today’s event is a sign that the aviation road map is beginning to take root and the Nigerian economy will be better for it.’’ In addition, Oduah stressed that, ‘’work on the remodelling of this terminal, which started in October 2010, entailed the expansion and modernisation of the old domestic terminal. This GAT, which will handle all non-scheduled flights at this airport, has a full complement of such modern facilities as lounges, including one for pilots, offices, duty rooms, private airline offices, a conference room, dining hall, shops and a game room, for recreation.’’

Work to commence on Abuja international airport

To the admiration of many, she said, ‘’in the next few months, work will commence on an ultra modern international terminal for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, as part of an MoU between the Nigerian and Chinese Governments for the construction of five international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port – Harcourt and Enugu. It is envisaged that on completion of this project in Abuja, domestic flight operations at this airport will take over most of what is today, the international terminal. The Federal Capital Territory and Nigeria air travellers do not deserve anything less.’’

While lamenting the state of the terminal before remodeling, Oduah added: ‘’It was not only that the old domestic terminal at this airport did not meet acceptable international standard, it was also not befitting of an airport in the country’s capital city, which has been described as the fastest growing capital city in the world. The airport also did not have general aviation and cargo terminals inspite of the fact that it had long become the second busiest airport in the country, after the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja. All these inadequacies have now been addressed, under the airport remodelling project.’’

Continuing, the minister said, ‘’the situation was the same in other airports across the country, where facilities were either outdated or dilapidated. That ugly situation was not acceptable to Government and necessitated the extension of the Transformation Agenda of this administration to the aviation industry and the formulation of the aviation road map, by us.’’

Bracing up for more commissioning

Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of  Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria,FAAN, Mr. George Uriesi, observed that  the Authority is bracing up for more commissioning ceremonies in the next few months, adding that  work on the remodelling of other terminals under phase I of the airport remodelling project is nearing completion.

‘’We are happy to inform you that the Authority is bracing up for more commissioning ceremonies in the next few months because work on the remodelling of the other terminals under phase I of the airport remodelling project is nearing completion in Benin, Owerri, Yola, Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Calabar and Jos. You may also wish to recall that the reconstructed Domestic Terminal I (formerly GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja was commissioned in October, last year,’’ he noted.

Uriesi also maintained that, ‘’work on the remodelling of this new General Aviation Terminal started in October, 2010 and was completed early this month. The project entailed the expansion of the old domestic terminal and its conversion to a general aviation terminal for non-scheduled flights. The new terminal has a full complement of modern terminal facilities including check-in counters, shops, offices, duty rooms, conference centre, dining room, kitchen, security screening machines and lounges, including a separate lounge for pilots.’’

He also said, ‘’today’s event is of great significance because it marks the formal commencement of general aviation services at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport since its inception in the early 80s, even though it is the second busiest airport in the country, after the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja. The airport has had to contend with decaying infrastructure and obsolete facilities that belied its position as the second busiest in the country, apart from being situated in the nation’s capital city. What was then the airport’s domestic terminal operated both scheduled and non-scheduled flights using the same tarmac and terminal facilities.’’

Accordingly, the FAAN boss added: ‘’We wish to thank  President Goodluck  Jonathan for believing in the potential of the aviation industry to make Nigeria great and for matching this belief with action, through the formulation of the Transformation Agenda for the industry. We also owe deep gratitude to the amazon of the industry, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah for her doggedness in realising the vision of the President for the industry.

The airport remodelling project and other programmes for the industry would have remained mere paper work without the assistance of the National Assembly.’’

‘THE building looks modest,without the supposed glitter of a structure of its status.. Upon entering the ground floor of this 30-year old structure, people are seen queuing and randomly scattered within this boxlike hall. At various corners of the of the hall are used recharge cards.

Out of every ten people who approach the various counters, two leave unhappy. The cause of their anger is not in doubt. This reporter sat on an iron seat that could barely take 10  people, a visibly sad man came out of a door on the right and was mumbling to himself. As he sat dejectedly beside this reporter, he decided to open up a conversation. He was a traveller and had just made use of the airport convenience.

“Inside that convenience is rubbish. How can the management operate a place like this? Can you imagine what that place looks like?,” he asked not really expecting any answers. This reporter provided none but made way to the ‘offending’convenience. Indeed , it was an unsightly place to do’business’. Yet, there were two ladies at the door way asking everyone who walked in if they wanted toilet paper on one hand while they asked for tips on the other.

This was the scenario at the local terminal of Murtala Mohammed Airport,MMA 1. Lately, Nigerians have had to contend with sad stories about the state of airports across the country.

‘’For instance, in May this year; there was power outage at Nigeria’s premier Airport, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for three hours. Air  travel was completely brought to a halt.

Lack of maintenance

‘’That incident however, corroborated the position of many that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and others across the country have failed. Vanguard Features,VF investigation, revealed that MMA is overcrowded and poorly managed, while some across the country may not be said to be overcrowded, age and a lack of maintenance are now tell signs of decay’’

The above, is an excerpt of a 2010 special report by this reporter titled: Nigerian Airports – From Safety Tales to Infrastructural Collapse.

Similarly, another report published in 2011 by another medium, titled ;Decayed Airport Infrastructure: Tears Are Not Enough, observed thus: ‘’Recently, the minister of aviation, Stella Oduah, embarked on and completed a facility tour of some airports in the country where she shed a deluge of tears over the state of infrastructure at such airports.

From the airport in Lagos to the ones in Ibadan, Benin, Delta State, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Bauchi, Abuja, Calabar, Owerri and Enugu among others, the story was shockingly, but familiarly similar: Obsolete infrastructure and broken down facilities. At every stop, including the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, the minister broke down and wept, perhaps, uncontrollably.’’

Perhaps, it is against the backdrop of these reports and others, that the Federal Government swung into action on the state of the airports  nationwide.

Accordingly, the indication

that the airports might be remodeled, emerged late 2010, when then Minister of Aviation Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, announced plans to embark on the rebuilding of new terminals for the nation’s airports.

‘’Government has gone ahead to also approve that we remodel our airports especially the terminals to meet international standards; what we see when we travel, even in the smallest countries in Africa, they have modern terminals; those terminals are so obsolete and we are trying to go modern and I want to assure you that in less than one year, we will start seeing knock down of some of these old terminals and bring up modern ones that you and I will be happy to have,” she said after a tour of the new facilities installed by Arik Air.

Due attention from federal government: Given that most government promises, rarely come to fruition in Nigeria, not a few gave it a benefit of doubt. But few years down the line,VF can authoritatively say that airports across the country are beginning to attract due attention. And even the harshest government  critique, can attest to this.

At the moment, findings showed that massive construction work is noticeable in the terminal buildings of Murtala Muhammed Airport (International Terminal), Murtala Muhammed Airport (General Aviation Terminal), Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (International Terminal), Port Harcourt International Airport, Kaduna Airport and Margaret Ekpo International Airport Calabar.

Other airports undergoing remodelling are: Benin Airport, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Yola Airport, and Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos.

Additional capacity

It was further discovered that the renovation and upgrade projects are basically on the redesign of the exterior facades, expansion of the footprint of some of the building to create additional capacity, redesign and construction of the interior of the buildings to give a modern look, among others.

While some are still undergoing the remodeling process, a few had been commissioned, clearing doubts that the projects might be abandoned. Restating, government’s commitment towards the project, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, said the  aviation road map, is designed to revolutionalise the aviation industry and increase revenue derivable from it by 300 per cent.

Oduah, who said this at the commissioning of the General Aviation Terminal, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Airport, Abuja, stated thus: ‘’The aviation road map, which is a creation of this administration, is designed to revolutionalise the aviation industry and increase revenue derivable from it by 300 per cent.’’

Explaining further, she said: ‘’This entails institutionalising world class safety and security standards, through institutional reforms, infrastructural development and development of airport cities (aerotropolis) that would transform airports into major employment, shopping, trading, business, leisure and cargo business destinations. I believe that today’s event is a sign that the aviation road map is beginning to take root and the Nigerian economy will be better for it.’’

In addition, Oduah stressed that, ‘’work on the remodelling of this terminal, which started in October 2010, entailed the expansion and modernisation of the old domestic terminal. This GAT, which will handle all non-scheduled flights at this airport, has a full complement of such modern facilities as lounges, including one for pilots, offices, duty rooms, private airline offices, a conference room, dining hall, shops and a game room, for recreation.’’

Work to commence on Abuja international airport

To the admiration of many, she said, ‘’in the next few months, work will commence on an ultra modern international terminal for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, as part of an MoU between the Nigerian and Chinese Governments for the construction of five international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port – Harcourt and Enugu.

It is envisaged that on completion of this project in Abuja, domestic flight operations at this airport will take over most of what is today, the international terminal. The Federal Capital Territory and Nigeria air travellers do not deserve anything less.’’

While lamenting the state of the terminal before remodeling, Oduah added: ‘’It was not only that the old domestic terminal at this airport did not meet acceptable international standard, it was also not befitting of an airport in the country’s capital city, which has been described as the fastest growing capital city in the world.

The airport also did not have general aviation and cargo terminals inspite of the fact that it had long become the second busiest airport in the country, after the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja. All these inadequacies have now been addressed, under the airport remodelling project.’’

Continuing, the minister said, ‘’the situation was the same in other airports across the country, where facilities were either outdated or dilapidated. That ugly situation was not acceptable to Government and necessitated the extension of the Transformation Agenda of this administration to the aviation industry and the formulation of the aviation road map, by us.’’

Bracing up for more commissioning

Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of  Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria,FAAN, Mr. George Uriesi, observed that  the Authority is bracing up for more commissioning ceremonies in the next few months, adding that  work on the remodelling of other terminals under phase I of the airport remodelling project is nearing completion.

‘’We are happy to inform you that the Authority is bracing up for more commissioning ceremonies in the next few months because work on the remodelling of the other terminals under phase I of the airport remodelling project is nearing completion in Benin, Owerri, Yola, Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Calabar and Jos. You may also wish to recall that the reconstructed Domestic Terminal I (formerly GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja was commissioned in October, last year,’’ he noted.

Uriesi also maintained that, ‘’work on the remodelling of this new General Aviation Terminal started in October, 2010 and was completed early this month. The project entailed the expansion of the old domestic terminal and its conversion to a general aviation terminal for non-scheduled flights.

The new terminal has a full complement of modern terminal facilities including check-in counters, shops, offices, duty rooms, conference centre, dining room, kitchen, security screening machines and lounges, including a separate lounge for pilots.’’

He also said, ‘’today’s event is of great significance because it marks the formal commencement of general aviation services at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport since its inception in the early 80s, even though it is the second busiest airport in the country, after the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.

The airport has had to contend with decaying infrastructure and obsolete facilities that belied its position as the second busiest in the country, apart from being situated in the nation’s capital city. What was then the airport’s domestic terminal operated both scheduled and non-scheduled flights using the same tarmac and terminal facilities.’’

Accordingly, the FAAN boss added: ‘’We wish to thank  President Goodluck  Jonathan for believing in the potential of the aviation industry to make Nigeria great and for matching this belief with action, through the formulation of the Transformation Agenda for the industry. We also owe deep gratitude to the amazon of the industry, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah for her doggedness in realising the vision of the President for the industry.

The airport remodelling project and other programmes for the industry would have remained mere paper work without the assistance of the National Assembly.’’

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