Lagos International Airport Reconstruction Gulp N14bn
Forty years after, the premier gateway into Nigeria, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, may be partially demolished. N14bn is being set aside for the comprehensive reconstruction and expansion of the international wing of the airport after the expected teardown.
Construction giant, Julius Berger, will carry out the major work before the end of the year while operations will move into the new terminal which is near completion. The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, hinted about the proposed reconstruction at the weekend in Lagos, saying the structure had outlived its existence.
Our correspondent reports that the MMIA terminal was built in 1978 and was officially opened in March, 1979. Since then, the facility, designed for 200,000 passengers, has not undergone any structural change and expansion despite the exponential growth in passengers using the facility.
The terminal currently handles over six million passengers annually with more airlines now operating in the country. Records from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) show that there are over 32 airlines, including cargo carriers, operating in the airport, with over 272 aircraft movements on a daily basis, comprising 123 arrivals.
FAAN has had to carry out regular repair and maintenance of facilities at the terminal over persistent breakdown as the terminal wore out. Sen. Sirika said he had been inundated with regular complaints over breakdown of air-conditioning and conveniences within the facility, but said with the planned reconstruction, the complaints would be a thing of the past.
“Thankfully, we have found a solution to the problems, although N14bn is a lot of money,” he said.
Our correspondent learnt that the reconstruction work will be funded through the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of FAAN which manages the airport. Meanwhile, at the stakeholders’ forum where the minister spoke of the planned reconstruction, some stakeholders raised concerns about its operations, asking if the planned reconstruction would not hamper their activities.
However, the minister explained that operations at the terminal would be moved to the new terminal being constructed by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC).
He explained that the new terminal project would be completed before the end of the year. According to him, the reconstruction of the old terminal would be carried out in such a way that it would have little or no effect on the operations of airlines and ground handling companies.
A former Commandant of MMIA, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (Rtd), said the planned reconstruction was in order and that, “What is to be done on the international terminal is more than renovation.”