In a bid to make the nation’s airports more viable and functional to compete favourably globally, the federal government through the Ministry of Aviation yesterday said the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase of the Nigeria Airports Concession Programme (NACP) which came to a close on September 19, 2022, saw the emergence of preferred and reserve bidders for three out of four airports and cargo terminals as approved for concession under the programme.
According to thisdaylive.com, the government, through the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said while briefing the media in Abuja yesterday, that in line with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act, 2005 and global best practice, ”The Federal Ministry of Aviation is in consultation with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and other stakeholders as regards the way forward for the fourth airport asset which did not receive bids as at the time of the RFP deadline.”
According to him, the outcomes of the RFP evaluation phase were as follows: “The preferred bidder for the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internationa! Airport (NAIA), Abuja, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. ENL Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for NAIA.
“The preferred bidder for Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, is TAV/NAHCO/Project Planet Limited(PPL) consortium. Sifax/Changi Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for MMIA.
“The preferred bidder for Maliam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. There are no reserve bidders for MAKIA as at the time of this announcement.”
He further said the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Port Harcourt, did not receive any proposal as of the RFP deadline.
He said: “The Federal Ministry of Aviation reminds all stakeholders that this is a multistage process and as such this is not the final outcome of the NACP programme.
“The next stage of the programme is the negotiations and due diligence stage, during which the federal government will invite preferred bidders to enter detailed negotiations with its representatives, with a view to developing a Full Business Case (FBC) before onward transmission to ICRC for review and approval.
“Only after successful conclusion of the negotiation and due diligence stage will the FBC and all other approvals be presented before the Federal Executive Council for final approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, Sirika, has said Nigeria would go ahead with its partnership with the Ethiopian Airlines to establish the Nigeria Airlines Limited.
Sirika stated this during an engagement with the Senate Committee on Aviation, the industry regulators and the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON).
He wondered why members of the AON were vehemently opposed to the idea of a national carrier when they were adequately carried along when the plan started seven years ago.
The minister insisted that the essence of having a national carrier was to improve services and make the industry affordable to all and sundry.
He said, “We have met severally with the airlines operators and pleaded with them to invest in the project. This is because the federal government would have a minimum shareholding in it.
“Nobody is shut out. Everyone is allowed to come and be part owner. As to what is the status of Nigeria Air? Nigeria Air is a company that is registered and known to the laws of Nigeria which will become by the God’s grace the much awaited airline.
“It is going to happen by the grace of God between now and December of this year. It will fly and also compete fairly with all of those existing airline.
“The intent is not to kill any business. The intent is to help to promote all businesses to be able to provide the needed service and employ our people. This is the intent and the more the merrier.
“The more that you have people doing businesses, then the ones that does it better take the advantage and they give more service and the people get served better.
“Also, if every one of them is doing very well without any favouritism, then it means that the competition will be healthy and will bring down the price of tickets and increase the propensity to fly and make more people to fly and then make more money for the airlines and give more service to the country Nigeria.
“The fact that it is going to be a robust airline that is going to be established, that is going to have connections all over the world, it only means that the market of Nigeria which is 200 million people will begin to be the benefit of Nigerians not to the benefit of British Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates airlines of this world that are coming to take the money of Nigeria away.”
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Biodun Olujimi, said the essence of the parley was for the minister to clear the air on the concerns raised by members of the AON.
According to her, the AON wanted to know the implications of the Ethiopian Airlines partnership with the Nigeria Airlines Limited, especially how it would hamper the businesses of patriotic Nigerians who had invested massively in the sector.
The Vice President, AON, who is also the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, spoke on behalf of his other colleagues on the occasion.
He reiterated that what the Ethiopian Airlines decided to do was to enter into the Nigerian market and reduced its prices to the detriment of the local operators over a period of six months and take over 60 per cent of the market share.
“In no distant time, the local airlines would be out of the market leaving only the Ethiopian Airlines and a few others flying the Nigerian space.
“This would skyrocket the prices of flights because the demands would be higher than supply.
“Already, domestic airlines in Nigeria had ordered for over 40 brand new aircraft. The effect of this is that all the Nigerian banks that had extended credits to the airlines would also be in trouble.
“Ethiopian Airlines wanted to be the National Flag Carrier while we have domestic airlines in Nigeria that a well-equipped to fly international routes.
“Let us consider our own first because charity begins at home. Anything that would stand the test of time must start from home. Ethiopian does not have any agenda to grow Nigeria. They want to practice Aviation colonisation in Africa,” the Air Peace boss said.