The federal government has concluded arrangements to open the new terminals of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA) by the end of October this year.
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed this recently during the Grand opening of the Legend Hotel Lagos Airport Curio Collection by Hilton located within the premises of private terminal facility of Quits Aviation at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
Sirika , who informed that the federal government would spend huge sum of money in improving infrastructures at the airports especially the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos also informed that the two other international airports in Lagos and Kano would follow suit.
He said, while many Nigerians had taken to the social media celebrating the new terminal in Kotoka International Airport, Ghana, the facility is a child’s play compared to the new terminals to be commissioned in Nigeria soon.
The minister however disclosed that the terminals would be concessioned for a period of 25-30 years to enable the private sector run them profitably while providing first class services to Nigerian air travelers and foreigners.
According to him, such concession agreement does not imply ceding its assets entirely to the private sector as the designated airports would be handed to the concessionaire for a maximum of 30 years.
He said, “This hotel is unique not only because it is 10 steps to aircraft but because there is nothing like this in the continent of Africa and I believe this is the beginning of the journey of the investments of private sector into aviation to achieve the kind of aviation that we need in this country.
“I will like to say that within few months, within the first quarter of next year, A380 aircraft would be landing in Nigeria. We have facilities to receive such an airplane. But this year before the end of this October, we would be opening the terminal in Port Harcourt which is ready even to the apron operations. We will also be opening the terminal in Abuja. They would be ready for operations.
“We noted our brother in Ghana Accra who opened their terminal and it is well celebrated on Twitter. And I think the Twitter will not have a space to handle once we open Abuja and Port Harcourt this October, In Sha Allah.
“And of course there are many other terminals we will open but having said this you are sure and I am sure including my friends, gentlemen of the media, you have not forgotten that the intent and purpose of this government regarding aviation is to concession these airports. We don’t believe that government can run these facilities and run them very well. We must hand them over to the private sector.
“And because we are social democrats in nature and as APC which is the government in power we do not intend to cede the assets completely to private hands. We intend to concession it for period of 20, 25 or 30 years in such a way that they would be run very well and very efficiently and for the private sector to make their money and for us to get the services that we need as we are leaving the country.”
The opening of the state- of- the- art hotel which had the president of Hilton Worldwide, Christopher Nasette, in attendance also attracted the president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, managing director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, chairman of Oando, Mr. Wale Tinubu, among others.
In his remark, Dangote, who hailed the aesthetics and architectural masterpiece of the new hotel challenged the federal government to replicate such structure at all the nation’s international airports.