By Daniel Eteghe
Lagos — The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and foreign airlines operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos, may be heading for a showdown over plans by the airport authorities to move airlines’ offices and operations to the 4th and 5th floors of the airport.
It will be recalled that FAAN had issued a two-week ultimatum to all foreign airlines in the terminal to move their offices to the 4th and 5th floors in order to facilitate the re-modelling of the airport.
Vanguard gathered that the foreign airlines are against this action taken by FAAN, saying such relocation would affect their operations.
It was alleged that the agency’s plan was to convert the offices currently used by the airlines into shops.
According to a source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, the airlines are not happy about the agency’s directive.
The source added that the foreign airlines were not only worried about the security of their officials but also their safety, as such offices also served as their cash offices.
The source stated that the airlines contention was that the shops should be located in the arrival section, rather than the departure area, adding that what was needed at the arrival hall were coffee shops.
Some of the affected airlines are BA, KLM,Air France, Aero, Ethiopian Airlines, Rwanda Air, among others.
When contacted, FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said the international terminal was undergoing thorough remodeling, and that shutting down would bring about some inconveniences.
He said: “FAAN is remodelling the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos terminal.
“In Port Harcourt for example, we had to move the airlines completely out of the terminal. It is purely routine in such construction.”
Meanwhile, President of Association of Foreign Airlines Representatives of Nigeria, AFARN, Mr. Kingsley Nwokoma, said the airlines were not in support of the movement, adding that airlines should be given priority in any decision making that concerned the airport.
He said: “Our position is that he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Without the airlines there will never be an airport and aerotropolis projects.”
“We are not in support of the movement and the foreign airlines should be given priority in any decision making process that affects them.”