The Ministry of Aviation in its recently updated roadmap status said the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports would be given to private sector operators to manage.
Under the proposed Public Private Partnership arrangement between the federal government and the private sector, the private investor will be required to upgrade, manage and operate the airport terminals over the concession period and hand over to the government.
Speaking on this, the Chairman of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Ahmed Danjuma, told our correspondent the approach was not feasible.
He said there were other ways to involve the private sector in running the airports apart from the PPP approach adopted by the government.
He said “There are so many models of PPP. We have suggested a build, operate and transfer. What the government wants to do is repair, operate and transfer an existing structure on ground.
“These terminals to be ‘concessioned’ are brand new terminals. If a terminal which has been built in less than two years is about to be ‘concessioned’, it does not make any informed decision.”
He said if the Federal Government was skeptical about handing the management of the airports to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, it should hand it out as management contract with a five to 10 years’ agreement.
Danjuma further suggested that the Federal Government could adopt the corporatisation method as long as traffic increases.
The General Secretary for Aviation Round Table, a think tank in the aviation industry, Captain John Ojikutu (retd.), said there were problems which the Federal Government had not been outspoken about.
He said, “The four airports to be ‘concessioned’, apart from Port Harcourt, is not going to be very easy for them. These three airports are joint user airports; they are used together with the military.”
“What is going to be the relationship between the military and the people that are going to manage the airports?” he queried.
Ojikutu said the Abuja, Kano and Lagos airports were used jointly with the military, adding that this may give rise to problems.
He questioned the relationship that would arise between the government security agencies that are working at the airports, those inside the terminal buildings, the Customs and immigration officers and the people to manage the airports.
Ojikutu said, “We must take examples from countries where their airports are working very well after being concessioned out to people and corporate organisations.
“The KSK airport and LaGuardia airports are owned by the City of New York, not even the state or the United States government. It is like the Lagos airport being owned by Ikeja Local Government.”
He said the Federal Government should be more concerned about the control of the national airspace, leaving every other thing to the corporate organisations to run.