The Chief Executive Officer, Aero Contractors, has said that the FG’s plan to concession four international airports in the country is good, urging that if done right, it will go a long way in improving Nigeria’s airport infrastructure.

Capt. Mahmood Abdullahi, Chief Executive Officer, Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, said this on Sunday, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

He urged that the concession should also ensure that the staff of the international airports are not deprived of the rightful benefits.

What the Aero Contractors CEO said

“Actually, concession is good. But, just to do it right, I don’t think people will be talking about concession. To me, there is so much burden on the federal government. FG cannot do all these things.

“If we are talking about the roads, they have been taken care of by the federal government. I think it is time for federal government to start to concession these things.

“One thing I say is doing it right. Do it in a way that the workers there are well taken care of. Once the workers there have been taken care of properly, definitely people we go for the concession.

“Because if we concession, I believe things will go very much better. Like I always say. Which terminal is the best domestic terminals in the country today? You will find out that it is MM2.

“The MM2 terminal is really good. Everything there is working. So, why? because it is private. I don’t think anything is wrong for government to concession these airports,“ he said.

He added that the federal government ought to do more in awareness to educate the citizens on the gains of concession, he also revealed that the pandemic affected the global hospitalism industry which also affected the aviation industry.

“They are the ones that are affected the most. When the global pandemic came in, the first things that happened was that they flagged up restriction,” he said.

“You know about aviation, most business of aviation is on our passengers travelling. But unfortunately during the pandemic, there was so much restriction on travelling.

“So, basically all the airlines were grounded except for the medical operators. All our craft were grounded for months without flying. We tried to get back gradually,“ he added.

He disclosed that the FG’s response to the pandemic for the sector, on several occasions, led to the approval of some waivers that were given.

“Even the FAAN MD in December granted waivers to airlines for six months window for payment which is due to FAAN.

“Also, the federal government has taken the decision to give a waiver on tasks. So whatever you import like spare parts, engines, part components; federal government had given waivers.

“All these are designed to give airlines soft landing to survive. The Federal government really responded to an extent, to the needs of the airlines,“ he said.

What you should know

In August, the FG assured that federal airport workers under the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will not face layoffs as it plans to concession Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports.

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika assured that the concession would create even more employment and correct the understaffing at international airports.

We will not sell the assets that belong to over 200 million Nigerians and the future generation of this country.

“We are not going to sell because those that were sold were lost, so, we in government believe that we should hold those assets for the Nigerian people in trust.

“We must make those assets better to provide the services that are needed. So, we said, rather than sell outrightly, we will concession.

“In other words, we would give it up to someone who would operate them and make them better,” he said.

The four airports billed for concession are the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.