WORRIED by the inability to meet its many financial challenges, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) yesterday disclosed that the agency was writhing under N20 billion owed it by airlines, concessionaires and government agencies.
The agency stated that most of the debtors were not ready to pay the debts, a situation it said has put the FAAN into financial dire straits.
The managing director of the agency, George Uriesi, stated that the huge debts would not deter FAAN, adding that the situation “requires that we begin to think and do things differently as an organisation if we are to bring FAAN into a proper state of financial stability quickly”.
Apart from mismanagement, debts owed the agency have adversely affected it, and made it very difficult for the upgrade of facilities at the nation’s airports.
However, the Federal Government is determined to address the myriad of challenges confronting the entire aviation sector, especially in terms of infrastructure.
For instance, FAAN has commenced the remodeling of the nation’s airports, which entails the expansion, construction of new terminals and overhaul of facilities at 11 of the 22 airports.
The minister had in October 2011 assured that the Federal Government would refurbish the airports in consonance with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
At the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, work is ongoing for the construction of a new terminal as the existing terminal building used for domestic flight operations and its protocol lounges are undergoing renovation. The new terminal is expected to house new departure and arrival halls.
The FAAN’s spokesman, Akin Olukunle, said the GAT is expected to have a total face lift, a development coming up after over 30 years of the terminal’s existence.
He also noted that at the international wing of the MMA, massive works were on-going for the expansion of the arrival and departure halls of the terminal to accommodate the increasing passenger and aircraft traffic.
According to him, “The expansion work would also affect the frontage of the terminal, including the diplomatic car park at the airport”.