The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has disclosed that over one million passengers were processed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos between January and March, 2021.
FAAN statistics revealed that a total of 323,751 passengers out of which 149,557 passengers and 174,194 passengers arrived and departed through the international wing during the period
At the domestic wing, 402,519 passengers arrived while departure recorded 337,041 bringing the total number of passengers on the domestic routes to 739,560 between January and March
A total of 17, 286 aircraft movement was recorded at the airport during the first quarter of the year with records showing domestic aircraft movements standing at 12,744 while international aircraft movement was 4,542
Commenting on the statistics, Airport Manager, South West, Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba said there was no significant drop as Lagos remained the business nerve centre of the country as most flights terminate at the airport.
Shin-Aba explained that there was a gradual reawakening from the COVID-19 even with the second wave not discouraging passengers from travelling, saying, “It is like a gradual reawakening, a gradual restart away from the COVID-19 issue, came the second wave but that did not discourage people from travelling so, it is growing gradually”
On COVID-19 protocols, the airport manager stated, “You see I use to tell people that if there is one thing the airport has been able to do as soon as you get into the airport environment this COVID-19 protocol is activated. You can get to town everywhere, you don’t see people obeying it but as soon as you get to the airport, we enforce it, people would not want to cooperate but we are enforcing it but for staff and passengers, people are cooperating”.
“If you don’t put on your mask we wouldn’t allow you into the terminal building and even if you are in the terminal building and you remove it we have some task force going around correcting people please mask up, so there has been a lot of cooperation from the passengers as well as other airport users”
She however noted with displeasure the number of family members escorting their travelling passenger to the airport, lamenting, “We have been having some challenges along that area. You know our culture the way we do things, one person is travelling, ten people will follow but we still try as much as possible to discourage people” .
She further stated that the challenge they were having with VIP’s parking indiscriminately at the departure area have reduced as there was a task force in place consisting of other security agencies that advice them to move on after dropping intending passengers.
Shin Aba disclosed that there were a lot of security arrangements, layers of security both at the land-side and air-side put in place with regular meeting of the security committee.
“We have a standing airport security committee that meets regularly and when there is any red alert we come together to strategist how to best work it out in preventing any occurrence and honestly. We have very good synergy between the security agencies even the Nigeria Air Force; we have a nice synergy, though we have military airport commandant but then even the Tactical Air Command, they work with us. We equally have the Commissioner of Police, Airport Command, the director of security services and Comptroller of Immigration, Comptroller of Customs; we all come together and synergize, share information so that we are not caught unawares”.
She explained that the COVID-19 has negatively affected the finances of the organization, hinting, “The disadvantage of COVID-19 is what affects us the most. It has affected our income as an organization, airlines are not coming back due to the pandemic, people are not travelling as they used to.”