Nigerian Airports Rated Poorly in Africa
IMAGE: L - Ms Angela Gittens, Director General of ACI world »
Nigeria did not move up the ladder in latest rating by the Airport Council International (ACI) as it is number six among the top 10 African airports in 2013.
This was disclosed by the Director General of ACI world, Ms Angela Gittens who nevertheless, acknowledged that many airports in the continent have recorded growth.
The highest ranking Nigerian airport in Africa is the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and it comes behind the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, the Cairo International Airport, Egypt, Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Cape Town airport, South Africa and King Chaka International Airport, Durban, South Africa.
Nigeria processed about 13 million passengers in 2013 and six million of these passengers travelled on international destinations, but the country is relatively the most underdeveloped airports among major countries in Africa.
THISDAY learnt that the major cause of setback in airport development in Nigeria was the failure of government to give the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) the free hand and target to operate.
A senior official of FAAN told THISDAY that there is too much politics in Nigeria’s aviation industry, so highly placed government officials try to influence things in the sector. This he said, explained why the nation’s airports were left to decay for years and “even when effort was made to rehabilitate them, the effort was politicised”.
The Steve Oronsaye report on how to streamline government parastatals and make them more productive, had recommended that FAAN should be made autonomous by severing it from government interferences so that it would be able to build, modernise, maintain and manage its airports as it is done in other parts of the world.
According to the rating by ACI, three of South Africa airports are the first three airports in the continent and these include the Johannesburg airport, Cape Town and that of Durban.
The former Managing Director of the FAAN, George Uriesi, told THISDAY in Durban that the secret of the success of South Africa airports is that government gave its airport management company, Airport Company, South Africa, the free hand to operate.
“I have always said that concession is the right thing to do. That is why South African airports are the way they are. They are partly privatised and government lets them operate independently. Government is a shareholder but it does not intervene. It is inactive shareholder. That is one thing that South Africa did that is very good,” Uriesi said.
He reasoned that “as long as the Managing Director of FAAN is invited every day to Abuja by the Minister of Aviation and others, there is never going to be any improvement in Nigeria’s airports because the management of FAAN needs the freedom to plan and execute programmes that will improve the airports, build new infrastructure and also provide other facilities.”
This is why many people are canvassing for the transparent concession of Nigeria’s airports, as they see it as the only option in which government could regulate instead of interfering in the management of these airports.
Some FAAN officials told THISDAY that instead of concession, government should make FAAN autonomous, give it yearly target on the standards the airports should be.
Article Credit: Thisdaylive