Nigeria’s Government has begun measures to give a face-lift to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMA), Lagos with the construction of a multi-billion naira new terminal building and a five-storey office complex with a modern car park facility, which are nearing completion. The new terminal which would be linked to the new old one will facilitate the airlifting of about 24 million passenger yearly, while the new car park will take 1,500 cars daily.
This was disclosed by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) when its General Manager Public Affairs Yakubu Datti took The Guardian round the projects yesterday, noting that the completion level had reached 70 per cent. The new structures according to Yakubu are unique as they could boast of all features found in all standard international airports all over the world, including special facilities for both the elderly and the disables.
His words, “The new international terminal situated close to the old edifice is under construction and has the end of the year as the delivery date. The new terminal also consists of a five-storey structure that will house most of the facilities that are required for an international airport and the design philosophy took cognizance of issue like the disables, people with disabilities, the elderly and all those necessary infrastructures are captured in the terminal. We also took into cognizance our peculiar local security nature in the construction of the terminal. At the end, the new terminal will also be linked to the old terminal which is about 37 years old. We will now be able to facilitate the airlifting of passengers of about 23 to 24 million per annum. That is huge and massive which will also prepare the terminal to play its role as a regional hub. Most of the external structures have been completed and the engineers said we are nearing 70% completion, because the super structure has almost been completed, and what is left are the glass-ware which just require fixing to the walls that have already been built. And I believe that they will be able to meet up with the delivery date.”
Yakubu disclosed that the completion of the new structure is coming with the provision of new jobs for Nigerians as more personnel would be needed to run the new outfit. He said that already plans are underway to employ about 1,500 staffers to man the new outfit. According to him, “We are also looking at manpower that will service this facility, and that’s why we are planning to employ about 1,500 staff. Already we have conducted interview and short-listed candidates who are awaiting invitation so that we will conduct the preliminary training required for them to operate. Yes, we are looking in the area of manpower not only manpower development but also bringing in fresh personnel to complement the infrastructure that we have on ground because the two must work together if we want to succeed.” The general manager while giving an insight into the funding of the projects explained that, “ The terminal is being funded by a loan acquired through the Chinese EXIM bank and who also brought the contractor for the construction of the project while the car park is under a PPP (Public Private Partnership) project with a private investor who is building to operate and transfer. These are models that are used by airports internationally to grow the aviation industry.”
The FAAN’s spokesman further disclosed that the face-lift is not limited to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and that similar projects are simultaneously going on in other airports across the country. He said for instance field lighting is going on in 13 airports across the country which would enable planes to take off and land in the night. “We are already installing air-field lighting across 13 airports in the country. We have already started, so most of the projects will soon be completed and that is because we want to ensure that planes can land at any hour of the night and those problems that being are identified will be resolved”, he said