Lagos: FAAN Says All Operating Airlines To Relocate In Phases

Yemisi Izuora

The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has explained that immediate relocation of all airlines to the new Lagos ultra-modern Chinese-built terminal would be done in phases to avoid challenges.

Yadudu, said it is a normal practice to move in phases and that initial unwillingness of some foreign carriers to relocate to the new facility would be addressed gradually.

He stressed that even in advanced countries, all airlines do not relocate to a new terminal at once but piecemeal.

According to him, “The terminal is opened. When you commission a new terminal, you have to do an operational transfer before you can move. We decided to start moving in phases. We didn’t want everyone to move at the same time. If you remember, when Terminal 5 opened in London, it took others about six months because of some teething challenges. It is only here that people complain. There is nowhere in the world that you have a perfect system. No airport operates in isolation from its environment. The aviation industry keeps evolving when the challenges happen and are tackled immediately”.

“The relocation is in phases. No airport system will say you want to relocate to a new terminal and you want to remove everybody, you will crash. So, we sent two airlines and other ones will follow. I told them to move the airlines that operate morning and afternoon flights so that we will decongest the old terminal”.

“It is unfortunate that some of them said they will not move, but we are not ready to compel them to move. We just keep quiet. You cannot be a FAAN client and dictate to us. When the time comes, they must all move. Those that refused to move want to paint us in a bad light that we don’t have a good terminal, which is not true”.

He noted that it was an irony of some sorts that the airlines and other users of the facility who complained of the bad facilities in the old terminal are reluctant to relocate to the new terminal.

Yadudu noted that the whole of aviation in the world is a national interest and unfortunately, decried the attitude of many Nigerians in joining them to condemn the industry.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), the main airport serving Lagos, opened its brand-new international terminal in April this year. However, it is barely being used as airlines continue to operate at the airport’s old terminal.

However, the majority of airlines are shunning the new terminal in favor of the older Terminal 1. This is reportedly due to the lack of apron space at Terminal 2, which is not wide enough to accommodate certain wide-body aircraft like the B787 Dreamliner, B777, B747, and A330.

Several carriers, including Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways, and Air Peace, have not relocated international operations to the new terminal due to this issue.

Several airports in Nigeria have added new terminals recently, including Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport. These new terminals were funded by EXIM Bank of China, which has pumped billions of dollars into Nigeria.

Due to the apron issue, international carriers continue to fly in and out of the old Terminal 1, which remains as busy as ever.

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