Dele Ore, a former President of the Aviation Round Table (ART), has commended the resolve of the Federal Government to concession airports in the country despite opposition from aviation unions.
Ore told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, on Thursday, that the recent appointment of transaction advisers for the concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports was a step in the right direction.
He said, “I am of the opinion that government has no business in doing business. The best option for the country is for these airports to be given to investors to enable optimal operation.
“Also, in the order of priority, there are a lot of things the government wants to spend money on such as health care, education, power and roads.
“So, concession of these airports will free more money for the government to achieve its plans of getting the country out of economic recession.”
The aviation expert cited the example of Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) , operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, which is the only privately owned terminal in the country.
According to him, despite the controversy surrounding the concession agreement, the terminal which recently celebrated 10 years of operations remains the best in Nigeria in terms of organisation and passenger facilitation.
On the opposition to the move by the unions in the sector, Ore said that the same unions had opposed the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, when he ordered the closure of the Abuja Airport to rehabilitate its runway.
“For the first time in Nigeria, a minister put his job on the line because he believed that the runway could be delivered within the time frame and at the end of the day, he was able to achieve that.
“Today, we are celebrating the success because if he had not taken that move, the Abuja airport runway was becoming a death trap which could have caused a disaster for the country, ” Ore said.
He, however, cautioned that the concession processes and procedures must be done in a very transparent manner that would be of benefit to Nigeria and Nigerians.