The Federal Government is set to turn around the fortunes of the nation’s airports with the invitation to private and foreign investors to buy into the project.
The investment covers passenger and cargo airports operated and managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.
This will not only change the narrative of the airport experience for users but also contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
In the past, airports were built for social services and not for profit-making.
The Federal Government over the years has invested huge funds in infrastructure with little or nothing recovered in terms of revenue in the operations of these airports.
Such airports have been tagged unviable as there are few or no passenger facilitation, businesses, and flights into them by stakeholders.
However, some stakeholders believe no airport is unviable if the right business model is applied.
They are of the opinion that apart from flight services, other activities can be introduced to attract people to spend money.
Now, the new thinking of government due to the paucity of funds for maintenance is inviting the private sector both local and foreign to invest in these airports and turn them into money-spinning businesses.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said the government has no business in business and as such a level playing field is now opened for investment.
With the increase in demand for air travel and the entry of many airlines, the need to upgrade and modernize the infrastructure of airports for passengers, users and other stakeholders have become compelling.
Facility upgrades would bring about quality service delivery in the areas of security, safety and comfort and put to an end the avalanche of complaints by passengers.
Director, Commercial and Business Development, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN, Sadiku Rafindadi said the airports today are no longer for social services but for profit-making.
The idea is that money generated would be plowed back into the system to cater to the maintenance of facilities, pay workers’ salaries and contribute to the Federation account.
Former Managing Director, Nigeria Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO, Idris Yakubu added that this should also be accommodated in the concession process.
Already, many state governments are investing in airports and airline businesses to open up their states, attract more investment, boost tourism and generate revenue.
Reporting by Nosa Aituamen, Editing by Omotola Oguneye