Experts in the aviation industry have called for a total concession of Nigerian airports at the on-going Akwaaba Travel marketing taking place at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
While speaking on the topic ‘State of Aviation in Africa, Chike Ogeah, vice chairman, Sachol, said Nigerian Airports are in bad state and needed to be upgraded to modern international standards. He explained that the best way to make airports in the country work optimally is for them to be privatised.
“It is not in our generation that government will get it right for airports to work. Concession or privatisation is the way forward,” said Ogeah.
Abayomi Jones, also corroborated Ogeah’s view. According to him, flying alone will not give the aviation industry in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole, money.
“Nigerian Airways had about 210 properties they sold among themselves,” he said of the defunct Nigerian carrier. “Nigerian Airways was fantastic. It was a goldmine but it was mismanaged.”
However, some experts argue that some airports in Africa have evolved overtime from the use of old archaic state of infrastructure to a much more modern state of the art buildings and structures.
Yet there are still more things to be done like putting up safe gates that read boarding passes and control passenger access to secure area should be set up. They should replace manual check-in boarding passes as passengers move from check-in areas to the departure lounge. Automated Boarder Control (ABC) departure smart gates using facial recognition should be installed. It captures image of departing passengers and matched them to their Biometric e-passport.
On his part, Chris Aligbe, said given the state of the Nigerian system, concession is the imperative. “The system FAAN runs is incompetent. What we are using to run our airport is residual knowledge. We need modern facilities. Concession is an imperative but we must do it openly.”
At the event, the speakers agree that the aviation industry is significant in African and the continent will continue to miss out on the huge benefits available in the sector if it refuses re-awaken to the benefits.