The Senate in Nigeria has kicked against the proposed amount for the construction of a second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the oil-rich nation’s capital, Abuja.
The Senate spokesman, Dino Melaye, in a motion on Wednesday, described the sum of 63.5 billion Naira for the construction of the second runway as ‘too high and unrealistic’.
Senator Melaye acknowledged that a second runway was necessary for the airport because of its location at the nations capital, but said that the proposed amount was too exorbitant.
He said the proposed cost of the runway far exceeded the cost of constructing some airports around the country and even abroad.
He noted that the terminal 5 in Heathrow Airport, with four lanes of 4km runway, cost less than N25 billion, while the entire Gombe Airport, with 3.66km runways, cost N8.2 billion.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki also acknowledged that the second runway was of utmost necessity, but added that it should only be executed at a reasonable price.
“It is important, but we cannot continue with such reckless expenditure.
“We have to let all the MDAs know that those days of recklessness are over and these kinds of figures will not be accepted.
“In fact, it is not just in aviation, but in all other sectors of the economy”, he declared.
Poor Airports Rating: Lawmakers Probe 400bn Naira Modernization Cost
Lawmakers in Nigeria’s House of Representatives are to investigate the poor rating of Nigeria’s airport even after over 400 billion Naira was budgeted and spent for the expansion, modernization and management of 17 domestic and five international airports.
The modernization was carried out by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
At plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers said the investigation would unravel why Nigerian airports were being rated poorly internationally.
The decision followed a motion by Honourable Garba Datti, on the need to understand the factors that have led to the inclusion of three of Nigeria’s airports in a list of 10 worst airports in the world, as contained in an international survey.
The House is also to look into the $1 billion dollars Chinese loan obtained by former President Jonathan’s administration for modernization and remodelling of the airports.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) faulted the recent survey which rated the Port Harcourt International Airport as the worst airport in the world.
This was in a statement issued two days ago in Lagos by Mr. Yakubu Dati, FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs.
Before this, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the ranking by SleepingInAirports.net rated the Port Harcourt International Airport as “the dirtiest and most corrupt airport in Africa.”
In its statement, FAAN said: “Our stand is that the said ranking was unfounded as it did not take cognisance of the fact that the airport terminal was still undergoing remodeling.
“Some of its terminal operations are still conducted in a temporary structure.” The statement pointed out that the existing domestic terminal, from which both international and local flights were conducted, was undergoing remodeling.
“Apart from this, construction work is also in progress at the site of the new international terminal.
“We believe that operations at such an airport where construction work is going on simultaneously with normal flight and related operations cannot be as conducive as in those airports where there are no ongoing construction projects.
“Neither can environments at such different scenarios be equally clean, the statement added.
It said FAAN was aware of the enormous challenges caused by the rather odd operational situation at the airport and had taken several measures to ease the difficulties faced by passengers and other airport users. According to the statement, one of such measures includes closing down one of the tents and moving operations there to some sections of the remodeled terminal, even when work in those sections were not fully completed.
“We wish to assure all passengers, airline operators and other airport users that services at our airports are delivered at recommended international standards that ensure safety, security and comfort.
“While we regret any inconvenience experienced at these airports, including Port Harcourt International Airport, due to on-going construction projects, we promise that services at these airports will surely get better at the completion of these projects.”
But two questions I have here. If FAAN’s statement explains the dirtiness of the Airport, does it explain the corruption? How long does it take to remodel Airports?
On 18 August 2006, the airport was closed for repairs. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority stated that the emergency shutdown was in order to overhaul the runway and build a fence around the facility. Such maintenance had been in planning stages for several months, but an electrical fire on 17 August 2006 made repairs immediately necessary.
In December 2007, the airport was reopened to a limited capacity. Operations were restricted to daytime until the first quarter of 2008, by which time the new CAT III lighting system became fully operational.
This airport is an international airport located in Omagwa, a suburb of Port Harcourt city in Rivers State, Nigeria. The airport consists of a single terminal with separate facilities for international and domestic flights. In 2009, the airport served 1,081,587 passengers, making it the third busiest airport in Nigeria.
Let’s compare it with JFK. John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK, ICAO: KJFK, FAA LID: JFK) is a major international airport located in Queens, New York City, United States
It is the busiest international air passenger gateway in the United States, handling 53,254,362 passengers in 2014. Over seventy airlines operate out of the airport, with non-stop or direct flights to destinations in all six inhabited continents. The airport features six passenger terminals and four runways. Construction began in 1943. The first airline flight from JFK was on July 1, 1948. JFK opened with six runways and a seventh under construction; runways 1L and 7L were held in reserve and never came into use as runways. Architect Wallace Harrison then designed a master plan under which each major airline at the airport would be given its own space to develop its own terminal design