“When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue”- Dolores Huerta
The age-long concession dispute between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal two (MMA2) has been of major concern to stake holders in the aviation industry.
The MMA2 was awarded to BASL in 2003 as a public-private partnership project on Build, Operate and Transfer basis, but has since been entangled several legal battle among both parties on aspects of the agreement, including the tenure.
There were reports that the initial Built Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract for the MMA2 was scheduled to last for 12 years, (2006 – 2018). The reports also said that FAAN had informed the Federal Government of the expiration of the contract between it and BASL on the MMA2 and that the government had commenced plans to terminate the contract and get BASL return the airport to FAAN.
However, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) dismissed the claim to bring to an end its concession agreement with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over the management of MMA2.
Bi-Courtney said that FAAN offered Bi-Courtney a 36-year Build, Operate and Transfer of the MMA2 in a letter dated October 12, 2006 and an agreement was duly signed on the February 12, 2007 by the Minister of Aviation.
This points that an insider might be responsible for the falsified report in an attempt to stir up rift between the two partners.
The two parties have also been involved in power tussle involving the ownership of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at the same airport and they seem not to be ready to settle the dispute.
MMA2 is the most functional and well run privately funded domestic airport terminal in sub- Saharan Africa , however if the two parties handling the affairs of the airport constantly engage in heated arguments over issues, this could affect the operations and activities of the airport.
It is important for both parties to embrace a peaceful and amicable settlement of whatever dispute that exists in the concession agreement in order to ensure the growth of the industry.
Although, earlier this year, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission initiated a process to resolve the disagreement between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.
Minister of State for Aviation should ensure that the dispute is resolved soon enough in order to strengthen the relationship between the parties. Both parties should be given the opportunity to air their opinions about the agreement and also assess the situation and challenges in order to better appreciate each others efforts which will give room for the settlements of issues.