Tuesday, May 24, 2022

FG Commissions 14million-passenger Terminal At MMIA

FAAN

The Federal Government has commissioned a new,14 million-annual passenger’s terminal at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) Lagos to make boarding easier for users of the airport.

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika disclosed this during the commissioning of the terminal yesterday.

“This terminal can process 14 million passengers per annum. There are 66 check-in counters, 5 baggage collection carousels, 16 Immigration Desks at the ‘arrival’ terminal, 28 at the ‘departure’ terminal, 8 security screening points, 6 passenger boarding bridges with remote boarding and arrival, 2 food courts, 4 premium lounges, 22 guest rooms and spars, 16 airline ticketing offices, visa on arrival and port health facility, praying areas, more than 3,000sqm duty-free spaces and over 5,000sqm let-table utility spaces.

“Aviation provides the only rapid worldwide transportation network, which makes it essential and most important infrastructure for the global logistical ecosystem. It boosts economic growth, creates jobs and facilitates international trade, commerce and tourism, ultimately raising the standards of living of the teeming population. Aviation remains the only medium to achieving continental integration and interaction. This is the agenda of the African Union (AU) 2063.

“However, our overall goal is to grow the aviation sector’s contribution from the current 0.6 per cent to 5 per cent (approximately $14.166 billion). In the same vein, IATA projects the air transport market in Nigeria, according to current trends, to grow by 174 per cent in the next 20 years. This would result in an additional 9.4 billion passenger journeys by 2037. If met, this increased demand would support approximately US $4.7 billion of GDP and almost 555,700 jobs,” Sirika said.

The ministry pledged its commitment to proper maintenance of all terminals and promised to integrate them with other infrastructure to ensure that passengers and other users have pleasant experiences while using them.

The aviation roadmap was developed and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 18, 2016. This includes the floating of a national carrier, airport concession, maintenance, repair and overhaul centre (MRO), aviation leasing company, agro-allied cargo terminals, as well as aerospace university, etc. The roadmap projects are being undertaken through public-private partnership (PPP) and the ministry has been working very closely to make an infrastructural contribution.

“The ministry will be issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the shortlisted firms before the end of March 2022. We expect to announce a partner in the 2nd quarter 2022 and handover by 4th quarter 2022. 

“In 2015, the total passenger figure was a mere 8 million. With the implementation of some aspects of the roadmap, the passenger figure grew to about 18 million in 2019, making aviation the fastest growing sector of the national economy pre-COVID-19. 

“We have successfully debunked the myth that aviation doubles every 15 years. Currently in Nigeria, the number of airports – including those currently being developed – has doubled, the passenger number has quadrupled, other ventures like catering and ground handling have blossomed, the number of airlines and jobs has quadrupled. Mr. President, thank you for the growth,” he said.

Sirika added that the country stands to gain significantly from the restoring and maintenance of connectivity within, to and from the country.

The minister pointed out that analysis from IATA shows that the aviation sector provides N341bn GDP contribution, 160,000 local jobs created and N535bn expenditure from visitors will be solely generated from restoring and maintaining this connectivity, adding that, consequently, these are the numbers at risk if that connectivity is threatened by the continuous travel restrictions due to the current pandemic.

“Mr. President, the aviation business suffers from the issue of access to foreign exchange by local and foreign airlines and the ability to repatriate blocked funds. Nigeria currently holds $283m of foreign airlines funds blocked in the country. I would like to humbly request the support of the Central Bank, through the directive of Mr. President, to prioritise access to forex for all carriers both local and foreign. and to work out a mechanism to clear the existing backlog urgently, to prevent subsequently build-up.

“Mr. President is aware of the recent chaos in the sector caused by lack of ‘Jet-A1’. Flights are unduly delayed and/or cancelled unpleasantly. While apologising to our teeming passengers, I wish to use this medium to humbly request Mr. President to direct the NNPC to import ‘Jet-A1’ in good quantity and devise means to sustain supply as well as direct the CBN to allocate forex for the major marketers to sustain supply. 

“I must pause for a while to thank Mr. President on the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) designed to lower CO2 emissions for international flights, to curb the impact of climate change. Developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and adopted in October 2016, its goal is to have a carbon-neutral growth from 2020 in three phases.

“Mr. President you approved and consequently Nigeria volunteered to join the pilot scheme. As of today, 107 countries are participating in the scheme.

“I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to Mr. President for ensuring adequate funding for various aviation sector projects, including [those in] Enugu, Maiduguri, Abuja, amongst others. I would also like to thank the relevant stakeholders, including, the leadership and aviation committees of the National Assembly for consistent legislative support while making a particular mention of their recent passage of the amendment bills to the acts of the agencies under the ministry,” he added.

Oluchi Okorafor
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