Aero Lauds FG for Concessioning 4 International Airports

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By Gabriel Agbeja

Capt. Mahmood Abdullahi, Chief Executive Officer, Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, on Sunday in Lagos commended the Federal Government on plans to concession four international airports in the country.

Abdullahi gave the commendation on Sunday in Lagos in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

NAN recalls that the Federal Government announced plans to concession four airports for a period of 20-30 years in June, 2021.

The airports are the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano, and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers state.

According to Abdullahi, such a move will fast-tract standardisation of the said international airports.

He, however, appealed to the government to ensure that the staff of the international airports were not deprived of the rightful benefits.

*The Aero logo

“Actually, concession is good. But, just to do it right, I don’t think people will be talking about concession. To me, there is so much burden on the federal government. FG cannot do all these things.

“If we are talking about the roads, they have been taken care of by the federal government. I think it is time for federal government to start to concession these things.

“One thing I say is doing it right. Do it in a way that the workers there are well taken care of. Ones the workers there have been taken care of properly, definitely people we go for the concession.

“Because if we concession, I believe things will go very much better. Like I always say. Which terminal is the best domestic terminals in the country today? You will find out that is MM2.

“The MM2 terminal is really good. Everything there is working. So, why? because it is private. I don’t think anything is wrong for government to concession these airports,“ he said.

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The chief executive officer maintained that the federal government ought to do more in awareness to educate the citizens of the gains of concession.

According to him, concessioning of four international airport terminals is a good thing that will happen to aviation industry in this country.

Aero Contractors’ boss reiterated that the impact of COVID-19 was much on Nigeria as the main source of income for the nation is crude oil.

According to him, COVID-19 came by surprise to the whole world and really affected most, especially the tourist industry.

“ They are the one that are affected the most. When the global pandemic came in, the first things that happened was that they flagged up restriction.

“You know about aviation, most business of aviation is on our passengers travelling. But unfortunately during the pandemic, there was so much restriction on travelling.

“So, basically all the airlines were grounded except for the medical operators. All our craft were grounded for months without flying. We tried to get back gradually,“ he said.

He further praised the federal government on its response to the airlines clamoring for financial assistance by deciding to give palliative to aviation sector as relief from impact of pandemic.

According to him, government has realised that aviation is the heartbeat of the economy and has decided to improve the sector.

“The government response, on several occasion, we have approached the government and there were some waivers that were given.

“Even the FAAN MD in December granted waivers to airlines like for six months window for payment which is due to FAAN.

“Also, the federal government has taken the decision to give waiver on tasks. So whatever you import like square parts, engines, part components; and all these ones, federal government had given waivers.

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“All theseare designed to give airlines soft landing to survive. The Federal government really responded to an extent, to the needs of the airlines,“ he said.

He affirmed that local airlines intensified efforts to train and retrain their staff, pointing out that training is fundamental in aviation sector.

According to him, training in aviation is continuous with engineers, cabin crew, pilot, the ground staff, including other workers.

“As long as the industry is regulated, there are trainings that are mandatory. You have to do them. You can choose to do the training, which likely improves your staff performance.

“But the mandatory training is what you have to do at intervals,“ he said.

He said that Aero Contractors sustained its integrity by promoting security awareness by establishing security culture.

He further said that the airline developed objectives that would adequately measure security performance standards and promote reporting system that encouraged the reporting of in advent human errors.

According to him, security is everybody’s responsibility, a collective responsibility.

“So, in aviation, you can see a unique industry because whatever that happens in any aviation, no matter how small, is bigger than global issue.

“So, all the staff of the company have been trained on security training. Security training does not mean that you train to become absent aviation security. But, just at least of some identification.

“Just to keep an eye. If you see something, say something. It is a part of security. Security awareness is all about talking to our passengers, talking to staff and talking to everybody around,“ he added.

(NAN)

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