Barring any last minute change, Nigeria’s air transportation system is expected to witness a great transformation across the country’s four international airports towards the end of 2016 or by the first quarter of 2017 when the ongoing terminal building project being spearheaded by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would have been completed.
Airports are the image of any country as passengers who are the end users especially those coming into the country for the first time form their opinions about that country through the terminal buildings and surroundings of such an airport.
Prior to now, many Nigerians had berated the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the government agency responsible for managing the airports over the infrastructural decay at the airports, particularly at the international airport.
Top on the list of the affected airports is the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, where until some years back, the site of the number one gateway was an eyesore with its dilapidated terminal building.
Many Nigerian travellers had lashed at FAAN for still parading a three decade old terminal building at the Lagos airport, which they termed a national embarrassment.
Before now, the usual story at the airports, particularly the Lagos airport was that of hopelessness and frustration suffered by travellers in view of the archaic facilities and terminal buildings adorning the international airports.
During the peak periods, it is not strange to see passengers at the Lagos airport using newspapers and other available items to fan themselves, while at times the whole place is thrown into darkness owing to corroded underground cables laid when the airport was built in 1989.
Unfortunately, the situation continued under the nose of the various ministers of aviation who had served as they only came, saw and walked away without much impact.
The only one that made her mark in this area where others failed was Princess Stella Oduah, who made tough efforts to upgrade the terminal buildings across the country’s airports.
Since she left the scene, majority of the responsibility had shifted to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on whose shoulder lays the task of making airport infrastructures conducive for flying and other businesses.
FAAN is making serious efforts despite the ongoing economic recession to change the situation through the continuation of the construction of new terminal buildings which is ongoing simultaneously across the four international airports. The projects have reached advance stages.
According to the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Yakubu Dati, the completion of the terminals will not only make air transport more seamless and of international standard, but increase passenger traffic from 15 million to 24 million at the four international airports.
From all indications according to Dati, FAAN is determined to provide latest facilities within the new terminal buildings with standard elevators and other modern facilities expected of a modern airport.
The good news is that the new terminals when completed will replace the old ones, while passengers will now experience more value for their money.
With the completion of the project, there is no doubt that the travelling public will start experiencing seamless travels, courtesy of benefits inherent in the new terminals.
The Federal Government is, however, expected to give all the necessary support to FAAN to achieve this as it will go a long way in bringing smiles to the faces of air travellers.