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The gains, pains of MMA2 at five

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AS you drive into the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) from either Ikeja or NAHCO, the sprawling edifices on both sides of the road separating the terminal building from the multi-storey car park, with the capacity for 800 vehicles at once, are wonders to behold. However, they did not just spring up there, but were products of good thinking.

Being the first successful Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Nigeria, MMA2, as it is popularly called, is a dream come through. In fact, five years on, it has neither diminished in facilities nor in physicality. This is due to the painstakingness of the operators – Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

As Nigerians would often say, “it is not easy.” Yes, this is a statement of fact in all facets of our life. Were it to be that easy, one or more replicas of MMA2 would have sprung up in other airports in the country. This is because, a very few companies could muster the kind of courage and the financial wherewithal with which to erect structures as solid and enduring as the terminal and its twin car park.

Five years after it was inaugurated by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, MMA2 still remains the best and the first in terms of facilities and convenience for passengers and airlines. This is the beauty of private participation in public enterprise.

It is very necessary to look back at the last five years to be able to plan and strategise for the next five years, when we can beat our chest and say a decade after, Bi-Courtney has completely changed the face of flight operations in Nigeria.

Although having spent over N12 billion since inception up until 2009 to subsidise the operations of MMA2, it is instructive to say pointedly that we will continue to spend more, if only to make the flying public and all our clients comfortable.

For now, plans have reached advanced stage to upgrade and buy new generators in a deliberate effort to enhance power supply to the terminal, which has, however, remained stable in the last five years to the pleasant surprise of many. Although it is like a magic, but we cannot afford to do less.

Whereas power outages have been more constant in some major airports in the country, becoming a national embarrassment to all, MMA2 has excelled in this regard.

Also, a part of the sprawling terminal designated for flight operations to the West Coast still has all its facilities intact. Five years on, these facilities have not diminished in value. This makes MMA2 different from the shed that the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) is. In fact, developing GAT and making it a world-class terminus is part of Bi-Courtney’s agreement with the Federal Government.

However, because of the facilities on ground at MMA2 and all our relentless efforts to add more, more airlines, more businesses and more general patronage are coming to the terminal.

While our state-of-the-art Conference Centre and a Five-Star Hotel projects are ongoing, MMA2 has another Conference Centre on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park, which we have always made available to the airlines and other stakeholders in the aviation sector to use.

For instance, since the unfortunate Dana flight crash of June 3, our Conference Centre has been serving as the co-ordination and information centre to the relatives and friends of the 153 passengers, who died on the ill-fated flight, as well as, those who died on the ground.

Another thing that is clear is that every part of MMA2 is an advertiser’s delight. Adverts of various sizes, either electronic or manual, would certainly find a space here. Many advertisers have actually seized this opportunity to reach their targeted audiences and they are getting results.

Besides, we can boast of other facilities, including but not limited to separate drop-off canopies for passengers, 3,500 daily capacity departure and arrival halls equipped with information display and announcement systems, electronic check-in system and baggage handling facilities, a VIP paying lounge, an executive membership lounge, a Platinum Lounge for corporate business executives and a Gold Lounge for VIPs.

Others are, Cargo Shed, “meeters and greeters” waiting lounge for friends and families of travellers, a covered walkway linking the terminal building with the multi-storey car par, retail and office spaces, Food Court offering African and Continental cuisines, eight remote aircraft boarding and disembarking locations, three dual head avio bridges, providing six “jet ways” to link the departure/arrival halls to the aircraft and bussing facilities.

 However, the Federal Government’s attitude to our concession agreement is not helping to assuage our pains, as it is redeveloping the GAT, Lagos, which incidentally, is part of our concession and a clear breach of the agreement.

Despite the fact that we have won court cases on the project, such judgments have been flouted and our civility over this has been misconstrued.

Also, half of the land that is supposed to house the five-star hotel and the conference centre has been taken over illegally.

However, we believe in bearing all these pains with equanimity. It only proves to Nigerians that the private sector can be the engineer of the economy. But, it is noteworthy that the attendant pains to the Bi-Courtney Group are actually the gains of the flying publics, the airlines and other users of MMA2.

To demonstrate this, we have kept all the facilities at MMA2 functional 24/7. With this, no discerning airline can waive the terminal aside, as it remains the best in the country today and one of the best in Africa. Hence, it has become a home to major airlines, such as Aero, Air Nigeria, IRS, Chanchangi, Dana, Air Midwest, Associated Airlines, Overland and First Nation.

Besides the airlines, the banks, such as Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Zenith, Diamond and Aso Savings and Loans, as well as, several bureax de change and other businesses have found a comfortable home at MMA2. Those, whose offices are not there have their presence through advertisement media at various points in the terminal.

Bi-Courtney is, therefore, encouraged by many well-meaning Nigerians, who have, at various times, had nice words for us. With this, we are humbled to soldier on into our sixth anniversary and more anniversaries to come with a pledge to keep MMA2 working 365 days a year for generations of Nigerians.

Article credit: Guardian Newspaper

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Updated 6 Years ago

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