Departure Hall, MMA2, Ikeja, Lagos
The first and wholly airport concession in Nigeria that started in fits and struts 14 years ago, has not grown more than 30 per cent of its potentials for efficient and effective service delivery. Thus limiting revenue potentials in form of taxes to the government and the capacity to help reduce unemployment in the labour market.
Chairman, Bicourtney Aviation Services Limited, BASL, operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, MMA2, Barrister Wale Babalakin, made the revelation in an interactive session with members of the League of Aviation and Airports Correspondents-Nigeria, LAAC-N, over the weekend.
He said the mandate to reconstruct, operate and transfer as conceived by the then management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, was to build a structure akin to a temporary transit terminal for aircraft to merely pick passengers. BASL Chairman revealed it was this arrangement that had a tenure of twelve (12 years) for his company to build, operate and transfer.
Babalakin said a visit to South Africa at the time changed his outlook of how a befitting terminal for dignified Nigerians should look like hence his proposal to change the initial simplistic concept of a terminal, and redesigned the entire concept to the edifying structure that presently is MMA2.
He explained that after he sold the brand new design concept to FAAN and it was accepted and unanimously agreed upon by both parties, it logically informed that the extension of its tenure to commensurate with the volume of investment that would bring the design concept vividly to life became inevitable.
Hence he said BASL requested for tenure elongation by 33 years which was to bring the total period of operating the terminal before transfer to 45 years.
The BASL helmsman who unarguably runs the best of terminals in the country to date disclosed that it was Prof. Aborishade, the then Minister of Aviation, that disagreed with the proposed 45 years’ tenure and cut it to 35 years which was reluctantly agreed upon by the management of BASL.
Babalakin, an attorney at law averred that all that transpired on the concession in terms of meetings and resolutions were recorded in the minutes which are in the possession of both parties.
He lamented the government flagrant disregard for pronouncements from the temple of justice as the government through FAAN had not thought it fit to comply with any of the verdicts of the court.
BASL Chairman said the disregard for the court pronouncements had done a lot of harm to the entire air transport industry in Nigeria.
Dr Wale Babalakin, a Senior Advocate in the Nigerian bar, who was bewildered by the atrocious levity that agreements and court judgements were treated by the government said, such disposition will no doubt repel serious international investors but would only attract cavalier to government business in the aviation industry.
STATUS OF GENERAL AVIATION TERMINAL
Enumerating some of the deeds of government that had either wittingly or unwittingly affected aviation growth, was the status of the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport/MMA1.
The BASL Chairman/Chief Executive explained that the continued denial of his company, BASL, of the GAT, had continued to adversely affect the infrastructure growth planned for both the MMA2 and the GAT.
He revealed that GAT was included in the concession agreement signed by FAAN. He added that the court had made several pronouncements confirming that BASL was to manage GAT as stipulated in the concession agreement.
Babalakin said to his amazement, government and its agency had not even batted an eyelid on the court judgements but continued disdainfully to deny the installation of equipment to ease operations of the entire terminals.
For example, he said, his company had invested about $5million to source from Australia, 1.8kilometer special hoses to facilitate fuel dispensing by conduit instead of the surface presently in use.
The erudite lawyer and businessman said there are fourteen points at the terminal to fuel aircraft in a better, safer and saner manner yet, the necessary infrastructure to make it possible had not been provided by the principal to make it effective.
The pipes imported he said, are still lying fallow in the terminal and the $5 million investment kept on hold for about a decade now.
On the regional flight arrangement, he expressed great disappointment that all the agreements reached were not honoured by the government agencies involved and as such brought great hardship to the airlines and passengers who were to get to international in a most uncomfortable manner to connect their flights
He advised that for the progress of the industry not to remain stalled, the government should learn very fast to honour all agreements and court pronouncementsShare