Stories by Lawani Mikairu
With the paucity of funds currently being experienced by the Federal Government which has subsequently affected the operations of ministries and parastatals under the Federal Government, the need for these MDAs to devise ways of generating revenue is now more imperative.
The decision of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria , FAAN, to automate the car park at the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos which has led to 68 per cent revenue increase for the agency, has been commended by aviation stakeholders. FAAN commenced the automation of the GAT car park January 8, 2018, which eliminated the manual collection of toll that had been in existence for about two decades.
Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN who confirmed the revenue increase said the automation exercise has blocked some of the loopholes in the system, adding that FAAN was making more revenues than in the past from the GAT. According to her, “ FAAN has recorded 68 per cent revenue increase.”
The automation of GAT will also address the security challenges at Lagos Airport as the rowdiness and massive traffic associated with the manual collection at the park has eased. According to FAAN, the performance of the exercise will be reviewed by the end of this quarter and adjustments made where necessary, but so far, the new system has been in favour of both FAAN and the GAT public.
This automation has also increased the comfort of airport users as the General Manager, Corporate Communications said: “FAAN decided to overhaul the whole system and see how we could make it orderly because we were getting a lot of complaints from our passengers and airport users that they were not getting a space to park their vehicles. Then, we were wondering if all the people that park their vehicles at the car park are airport workers and travellers. Also, we are in an era of technology where people no longer do things manually, but automated. That was what prompted FAAN to do the automation.
“And since we started, there has been a lot of sanity at the car park, there is a lot of orderliness and progression. As soon as you go into the airport, you just go into the car park without any issues. In time past, there were lots of queues. Once you get into the airport, if you are not dropping, you are encouraged to go to the car park and do your business there, rather than parking on the road and creating traffic.”
The agency has also disclosed that despite the automation of the car park, FAAN would still continue with the planned construction of a multi-storey car park within the GAT terminal and this will further enhance revenue generation for the agency.
“As you know, FAAN just completed the construction of a multi- storey car park at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. Plans are on ground too for the car park at the GAT. When we commence the construction, everyone would see it,” Mrs Yakubu said.
To ensure better comfort for airport users, FAAN has started working on the toilet facilities at the international wing of the airport. This was disclosed also by FAAN spokeswoman.
She said: “The Wing D toilet fittings have been removed and completely replaced. Once we are done with Wing D, we shall move to Wing E. We are doing complete overhaul of the facilities so that we can have new toilets for users.
“We have been getting a lot of complaints from our customers on the state of our toilets. You know, MMA is an old airport and what we are doing is in line with our core value of comfort for passengers and other users of the airport. We felt it was necessary for us to remove them and replace with others while we are waiting for a new terminal,” she added. To enhance safety and security at the airports, FAAN recently commenced the evacuation of unserviceable aircraft at the airside of Lagos airport. The exercise had been completed in Lagos while the team, would move to Kano airport for the same exercise and subsequently move to Ilorin, Kaduna and others.
There are more than 13 aircraft abandoned at the airside of the Lagos airport. FAAN had told the owners of these aircraft to relocate them away from where they were abandoned without any fruitful response from them. Where they were abandoned constituted danger to safety and smooth operations of aircraft.
On the need for evacuation now, she said “the relocation became necessary in order to give more space for airworthy aircraft to land, take off and manoeuvre as expected during operations at the airside,” adding that FAAN would continue to take safety and comfort of airport users as a top priority. According to Yakubu: “What we are doing is part of the services FAAN is providing; comfort and security. So, for security, these aircraft have been abandoned at the airport for long and miscreants can just go in there and do whatever they want. We want our airports to look beautiful, the abandoned aircraft defaces the beauty of our airside,”she added.
She also revealed that plans have also reached an advanced stage for the agency to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at strategic locations within the airside in order to forestall aircraft poaching and other incidences.
She said : “What we had in the past was that the ‘Follow Me’ vehicle used to be in the front of aircraft, but we have decided to reverse the order. The vehicles are now at the back of the aircraft to ensure that the aircraft go to parking bay without any incident or aircraft poaching.”