The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) recorded a total of 13.4 million passengers in 2012. This is an increase of 2.4 million over the 11 million passengers handled in 2011. The breakdown of the numbers per airport is not yet available.
Note: FAAN gave the following statement refuting the abovementioned numbers:
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria wishes to correct a false information stating that 13.4 million was recorded as the passenger traffic for the year 2012. The figure said to emanate from FAAN is false in its entirety. For the avoidance of doubt, the traffic figure for the year 2012 is being collated as at press time. We recorded a positive passenger growth of 17.2% between January – June, 2009 and not a negative growth as reported in some news outlets. The negative growth recorded was in the international aircraft movement as a result of the airlines using larger aircraft. This however did not affect the international passenger growth. The passenger traffic figure published for the year 2010 puts the passenger traffic at 13, 981, 677 while that of 2011 stands at 14, 834, 269. This clarification has become necessary as the incorrect figure is being quoted as authentic. The Authority wishes to place on record its appreciation for inquiries being made to verify information.
FAAN also announced that the renovation of Kaduna Airport will be ready in three months. Furthermore, the agency will install electronic toll gates at Abuja Airport to improve the traffic flow. However, FAAN’s efforts to remove all derelict aircraft from airports across the country are hampered by the aircrafts’ owners.
The Minister of Aviation already denied accusations that the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) fund was utilised by the Federal Ministry of Aviation without approval from the relevant authorities. However, the members of the joint House and Senate Committee on Aviation are now accused of accepting a bribe for granting the Ministry of Aviation approval to draw money from the BASA fund for the airport renovation exercise. According to a Nigerian newspaper report:
The joint House and Senate Committee on Aviation, are alleged to have had their hands lubricated to approve the huge sum of money the Ministry of Aviation and its parastatals spent on the remodelling of 11 airport terminal buildings. A sum of $2 million was allegedly shared by the lawmakers for the approval granted to the Ministry of Aviation to draw from the now scandalous Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) fund. An online newswire report stated that the said sum of $1 million gratification was allegedly given to each of the committees, in order to fast track the approval of the BASA fund. Both committees had recently held series of closed-door meetings over the BASA funds without making public, details of their deliberations, a development that raises questions about the outcome of the meetings and their purpose.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Aviation has signed an MOU with Chinese investors to build new airport terminals at Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt in the coming year.
The FAAN has released the passenger numbers for 2010, 2011 and the first half of 2012 (XLSX-format). The total number of passengers rose in 2010 compared to 2009 with 10,5 per cent to 13.981.677, and in 2011 compared to 2010 with 5,5 per cent to 14.751.83. Lagos Airport was the busiest airport in 2011 with 4.127.100 domestic and 2.621.190 international air travellers, while Abuja follows with 3.624.862 domestic and 591.285 international passengers. Overall, most of the smaller domestic airports experienced a decline in traffic in 2011. Airports that are not managed by the FAAN – Asaba, Gombe and Uyo – are not included in the calculations.
The construction of the new domestic General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at Lagos Airport is progressing steadily, despite criticism of the secrecy surrounding the financing and contractor selection process of the project. The Minister of Aviation could adopt more transparency in the execution of her further agenda, of which some proposals can be found here.
The Federal Government has gone to court again to have the concession given to Bi-Courtney to operate the MMA2 Terminal at Lagos reduced from 36 to 12 years. Bi-Courtney was awarded the concession in 2003 to design, build and operate the domestic terminal for an agreed number of years to recoup its investment.
The move comes after the much criticised and controversial ejection of Maevis, another concession holder, from Lagos and Abuja airports by the FAAN. Meanwhile, it is reported that the current MD of FAAN, George Uriesi, spent N228 million on the reparation of three generators at Abuja Airport in 2009, against all financial rules. The FAAN is also accused of several other fraudulent transactions.
Last month, new responsibilities were given to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to manage Nigeria’s airspace. The agency now also oversees the airfield lighting and bird harzard control at all airports. NAMA took over the calibration unit otherwise known as Navigational Aids Flight Inspection and Surveillance (NAFIS) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) too. This weekend, the NCAA transferred its HS 125-700 calibration aircraft (5N-AVK) to NAMA. The Federal Government has also concluded plans to acquire an additional calibration aircraft. Nigeria still depends on ASECNA, the Senegal-based regional equivalent of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in the Francophone West African countries to have its navigational aids (NAVAIDS) calibrated.
Since this weekend, many domestic flights have been cancelled as airlines can not meet up with their scheduled flights, due to aviation fuel scarcity.
The Assistant Secretary General of Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), Mohammed Tukur condemned the situation saying “this is the time airline operators should be wary of what is sold to them as aviation fuel…this is the period kerosene could be sold to unsuspecting carriers in the name of aviation fuel.”
Some foreign airlines headed to Accra to refuel their aircraft, where the commodity is also cheaper.
The Nigerian minister of aviation Stella Oduah announced that she is taking measures to curb regional ticket price disparity:
There are things we need to do as well to ensure that doesn’t happen; that includes the penalty that we’re going to impose on any airline that gets involved in regional imbalance, and also to know the factors that encourages that – one of which is supposedly the aviation fuel, which we will tackle. We will hedge it against international rate, so we’re using that as a benchmark price. In summary, regional price imbalance is an illegal act; its offensive and we will not encourage it. We will fight any airline that participates in that. It’s one of the major reasons that we will make sure that our airports are functional and passengers are encouraged to use our airlines and aircraft operators.
Media and public in Nigeria have repeatedly complained about the high international air fares from/to Nigeria.
In the interview the minister also commented on the new national airline that should be launched this year:
We need a national carrier that will represent who we are, that will portray us in the bright light. It will be owned by Nigerians and managed by Nigerians for Nigerians, on a commercial basis – no government involvement at all, and many companies and individuals have indicated interest in this venture.
The Federal Government has given British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and other international airlines operating into Nigeria thirty days to end ‘fare disparity’, where Nigerians pay higher for international flights than their West African counterparts. Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, said airlines that fail to abide by the ultimatum, which starts today March 26, would be banned from operating in Nigeria.
A few short updates:
- Arik Air has officially passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).
- Angry villagers near Kaduna Airport blocked an IRS Airlines aircraft from taking off to protest the closure of a footpath near the airport by the FAAN.
- The Federal Government has granted Kenya Airways permission to operate 14 flights a week into Lagos and four flights a week into Abuja. Meanwhile, the authorities still have to approve Ethiopian Airlines’ request to operate a B777-200LR on the Addis Ababa-Lagos route.
- Several projects are ongoing to improve the aviation infrastructure in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has instructed airlines, agencies, and the various parastatals in the sector to train their employees in the efficient delivery of customer services to travelers. The directive, a fallout of the incessant complaints from both domestic and international air travelers, is aimed at eliminating the occasional fighting encountered at the various airport terminals between ticketing and reservation officers of airlines and air passengers.
The Nigerian Ministry of Aviation is planning to build a new international terminal at Abuja and to remodel five other airports across Nigeria. The current international terminal in Abuja will be used as the local wing in the future, while the current local wing will serve as the cargo terminal. The other airports to be remodelled are: Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu, Port Harcourt international Airport, and Calabar airport.
Meanwhile, the managing director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) noted that of the 22 airports managed by his agency only two of them are economically viable. The rest is in poor state and funded by the revenue generated from the two profitable airports.
A few bits of news:
- The first international flight from Akwa Ibom Airport, Uyo, will be operated on 8 January 2011. Sky Airlines will operate the charter flight and carry 215 Christian pilgrims to Tel Aviv, Israel, with a B737-900. An A330-200 will carry another 324 pilgrims next week. This is the first widebody airline to land in Uyo.
- IRS Airlines will acquire three more F100s this year and intends to open the Abuja-Calabar route. Calabar would be the airline’s eight domestic destination.
- The FAAN has acquired 5 fire tenders for Lagos Airport, new toilets have been installed at the airport, and the agency promised to boost power supply.
- The FAAN also increased security measures at the airports throughout Nigeria.
The new domestic terminal building of Mallam Aminu International Airport, Kano, will be commissioned on 27 January 2011.
- Ekiti State has to speed up the commencement of work on the new Ekiti Airport.
- Arik Air aims to consolidate its position in the new year and expand a little bit in West-Africa. The airline also hopes to carry Christian pilgrims from Enugu Airport to Israel.
- Air India may resume flights from Mumbai to Lagos this year, meanwhile China Southern has again cancelled the announced Guangzhou-Dubai-Lagos service.
President Jonathan yesterday commissioned the Total Radar Coverage for the Nigerian Airspace (TRACON) seven years after the contract for the project was signed. The project comprises four Primary Radar located in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. TRACON also has five relay stations which serve as standalone Secondary Surveillance Radar located at Talata Mafara, Maiduguri, Numan, Obubra and Ilorin.
The Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) announced that from today it will withdraw all its air navigational services from airlines indebted to the authority. NAMA also informed the airlines that it will introduce a ‘pay as you go’ method to ensure that new debts are not accumulated by the airlines and that they pay for the services rendered to them as they operate.
The debt being owed by the airlines is about N10 billion. Some of the carriers have settled their bills: Air Nigeria, Dana Air, Caverton Helicopters, and Bristow Helicopters, while Aero and IRS Airlines accepted the invoices. The biggest debtor, Arik Air, refused to pay any navigational charges.
Follow-up: Arik Air cancelled all domestic flights today due to the new measures. The airline’s Deputy Executive Vice President, Mr. Chris Ndulue, said that the NAMA is out to destroy the aviation industry.
Nigerian airlines could be allowed to fly their own planes to the United States by the end of the year following improvements in aviation security in the West African nation, U.S. and Nigerian officials said on Wednesday.
“Category 1 would allow Nigerian carriers to fly directly to the U.S. using their own aircraft and crews, establish new routes and frequencies, and add additional aircraft,” Robin Sanders, U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, told a news conference.
“You’ve achieved and crossed … major hurdles on the positive path to Category 1 status, which I hope with my team that you will be able to achieve some time between now and the end of the year,” she said.
Meanwhile, the body scanners bought for Nigeria’s international airports in the wake of a Christmas Day bomb attempt remain unused months later, though U.S. air marshals now protect flights coming into the West African nation.
The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (Nahcoaviance) plans to build a new cargo shed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, to replace the existing one. The N1.19bn ($7.9m) project will enhance cargo facilitation and sustain the profitability of the cargo handling business. It will involve semi-automation with enhanced storage capacities and operational efficiencies to increase the annual cargo throughput to 200,000t and 60,000t of imports and exports respectively. Lagos-based Messrs Interaf Construction Limited and German company ALS Logistic Solutions have been appointed as contractors for the project, which will be complete within seven months.
The Nigerian Airspace Management Authorithy (NAMA) completed the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project. The project, which was conceived seven years ago, has nine locations with major stations in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. It will be co-fixed with primary and secondary surveillance systems that will have ranges of 65 and 256 nautical miles, respectively. The radar project will have five relay stations located at Ilorin, Maiduguri, Obubra, Numan and Talata-Mafara. It will include a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) network to connect the various radar sites and allow the two area control centres in Lagos and Kano to receive radar inputs from the secondary radar site.
Many flights were cancelled in the past few days because of bad weather conditions. Flight operations were halted for hours because of the low visibility caused by the Harmattan, a dry and dusty West African trade wind that brings a heavy amount of dust in the air.
The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Babatunde Omotoba, reportedly decided to build a new airport in his hometown Iyin-Ekiti rather than at the earlier proposed site at Ado-Ekiti, the nearby capital of Ekiti State.