FAAN to begin repairs at Abuja Airport, gives ultimatum to foreign airlines

FAAN to begin repairs at Abuja Airport, gives ultimatum to foreign airlines

- Airlines operating at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja are to move to the new terminal on or before Sunday, March 31

- The directive was given by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Wednesday, March 13

- FAAN explained that this will enable the authority carryout repairs and renovations on the old Terminal C, the site for foreign airlines

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has directed all foreign airlines operating at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja to move to the new international terminal on or before March 31.

Sani Mahmud, FAAN’s regional general manager, north central, disclosed this on Wednesday, March 13, when Emirates Airlines commenced flight operations at the new terminal, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

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Mahmud said that the deadline given in order to enable the authority carryout repairs and renovations on the old Terminal C, where foreign airlines had been operating.

He said that Emirates was the fifth international carrier to move operations to the new terminal in addition to Ethiopian Airlines, Air Côte d’Ivoire, Asky and Air Peace.

“(The Emirates Airline) arrived with 176 passengers and 16 cabin crew on board at exactly 3:00 pm with a Boeing 777 aircraft and it is expected to depart with 222 passengers on the same flight at 6:00 pm.

“This is the fifth international airline to relocate operations into the new terminal out of 14. We have met with the remaining airlines and gave them up to March 31, to move into the new terminal that was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Dec. 20, 2018.

“We believed that they have ample time to have moved into the new terminal and the old terminal is due for renovation.

“As such, we have given them up to 31st of this month to move into the new facility and we will commence renovation of the old terminal.

“We are confident that they will all move because we have given them offices and the connectivity is in place,” he said.

The former Inspector- General of Police (I-G), Ibrahim Idris, who was one of the passengers on board the Emirates flight, said he was impressed with the comfort at the new terminal.

Idris said that the facilities at the new terminal were of world class standard, urging the management of the airport to ensure that the standard was maintained.

“This is obviously a world class airport like you see in Dubai and elsewhere and it is impressive. It shows that Nigeria is moving forward because it is a dramatic change and I want to urge FAAN to ensure that this facility is properly and adequately maintained.”

Another passenger, Joyce Mekebo, said she could not believe that Nigerian government could build such a standard airport facility, adding that it was the first time she had tasted comfort in a Nigerian airport.

“When I arrived, I said so the government could do something this amazing all these years and they denied us.

“So for the first time I am landing in Nigeria and I am not sweating, everything seem standard and international and the airport is really beautiful.

“I hope they will maintain the stand because it is one thing to build a structure and it is another thing to maintain it, but let see how it goes in the next couple of years. Other than that, this airport is amazing, everything is standard, it is working,” she said.

Another passenger, Alhaji Wahab Adeniran, said that the facility and the quality of services rendered at the new terminal was impressive, saying that he could not differentiate the airport from that of Dubai.

Adeniran said that proper maintenance was key to sustaining the current standard, and that maintenance culture in Nigeria had been an issue.

“Actually, I am just coming from Dubai and when I entered this airport, I thought I was still in Dubai because this kind of facility and the treatment that we got here today is beyond expectations.

“We have seen that the government is actually working, the president is doing pretty well and I hope we sustain this.

“I don’t think I spent more than three minutes at the immigration point because the system is working perfectly.

“What we need now is to sustain this service because Nigeria is very good at starting thing on a good note but sustaining that standard is always a problem. We are happy that things are now working in the present day Nigeria,” he said.

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Asky Airlines was the first to start flight operations at the terminal on January 6. The remaining airlines that were yet to relocate their operations include: the British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish, Air France, African World Airline, Egypt, Rwanda Air, Arik and Medview that suspended operations at present.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that Nigeria on Wednesday, March 13, joined other nations across world in banning the Boeing 737 Max 8 from flying over its airspace to ensure passenger safety.

The minister of state, aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made this known when he addressed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

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