May 12, 2021

Nigeria Transport Hub

…the epicentre for all transport modes

Lagos Airport, most fitting for designation as a hub- Gbenga Olowo

3 min read

MURTALA MOHAMMED INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, LAGOS, NIGERIA

An advice has gone to the federal government to eschew the thought of making any other airport a hub of the West African coast aside the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos State.

Rather, a fervent appeal was made to the government through the aviation ministry to begin without further delay, a strategic policy of making MMIA, Ikeja, a Hub for the West Coast of Africa.

A tested and proven consultant in aviation with about four decades of unblemished record in the aviation industry, Dr. Gabriel Gbenga Olowo, gave the advice in his position paper on the liberal conditionality for consideration to achieve equitable distribution of stimulus to operators.

He maintained that palliative should be dispensed in accordance to organizations’ financial records and tax remittances made at the similar period in 2019, in order to realize a safe and secure restart of flight operation in Nigeria.

Dr. Olowo who also is the President, Saber West Africa, submitted that, “Hub competition with LOS/Lagos by other NG/Nigerian airports can never thrive as much as LOS because of its geo location”

Recent experience early in the year when the government was ill prepared for the prolonged harmattan haze which compelled most of the international airlines to find solace in other airports outside Nigeria, was an eloquent testimony to the position of MMIA by the international airlines. There actions revealed alternate airport to MMIA is outside the shores of Nigeria. MMIA no doubt already has all it takes be ahead of competition especially in the west coast of Africa.

Hence government will merely require the will power to wrap up the few remaining paraphernalia to make the airport’s long desire of a formidable hub, a fait acompli.

He argued that the present paralytic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our airports have provided a lesson for all who cares to notice, and genuinely patriotic enough to be convinced that, “Hub is needed to stimulate Non Aeronautical Revenue”

Olowo however added a caveat that, if concerned authority with oversight on the industry in behalf of government fails to do it, our sister nations such as  “ACC/ Ghana, ABJ/ Coted’ivoire  even Lome / Togo will do it if LOS/Lagos fails”

PHOTO/AFP  –   African Heads of State and Government pose during the African Union (AU) Summit for the agreement to establish the African Continental Free Trade Zone in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018

A GLIMPSE ON THE REALITY

Albeit, as the elder statesman was involving in brainstorming on a successful restart of aviation in the country, our neighbor, Ghana was preparing to receive the Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area, AFCFTA, Mr Wamkele Mene.

That single institution having his proposed secretariat with our neighbor will go a long way in helping to boost trade and commerce in the host country. But to any uncanny observer, it is obvious our neighbor has since had its mind on becoming a leading destination and her resolve to employ aviation to drive the country’s entire economy has not been in doubt.

At the 28th Annual General Assembly and Regional Conference and Exhibition of the Airports Council International (ACI) in Accra, 12th-18th October, 2019, President Akufo-Addo, mince no words in his resolve to make Accra, aviation hub for Africa.

While declaring open the 28th ACI conference in Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, declared that “the construction of new aprons at Ghana’s International Airport, rehabilitation of Sunyani Airport and new passenger terminals in Kumasi and Tamale airports are all geared towards making the country’s aviation industry competitive in Africa and beyond”.

And that goal to observers is vigorously being pursued through multi ministerial approach that earned Ghana the secretariat of the novel multilateral African Union trade organization, African Continental Free Trade Area, AFCFTA. The impact of the AFCFTA to the economy of the host state and especially to the commerce of  the city in which its situated is a forgone conclusion

 However, in achieving the goal of a hub for MMIA, a wide spectrum of government policies right from the aviation ministry and its agencies, ministry of trade and investment and foreign affairs must be pursued in a manner that they complement each order, the essence of being designated a hub would come to fruition in no distant future.

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