FG insists on Airport concession

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, declared that there was no going back on the concession of the airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano.

The Minister of State, Aviation, Honourable Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this during the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation’s investigation on the need to rescue airline industry from imminent collapse, said the concession would improve the operation of the airports.

The minister also noted that the best way to attract passengers, investors and turn the airports into hubs was to concession them, noting that concession would make the airports world standards.

According to him, “we are not ready to sell or privatise our airports, but we will concession them to standard. The concession process will be in the open. No secrecy in the bidding.”

But the president of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Comrade Benjamin Okeowo, said the union was not  in support of the concession.

The Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, said in 2014, the sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product was about $0.7billion and $685million in 2015.

The union leader  queried why four viable airports out of the 21 airports  were the ones slated for concession.

He maintained, FAAN is operating about 21 airports of which only four are viable and it is these four airports that are targeted for concession. The fear is, what happens to others when these four are concessioned. If others are not viable, what becomes the fate of the workers over there.”

The Speaker, who was represented by his deputy, Honourable Yusuf Lasun, added that the sector also supported the country with 159,000 jobs.

On her part, Chairperson of the House Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nkiruka Onyejiocha, said the concession idea being proposed should be done in compliance with FAAN Act.