By UCHE USIM
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim yesterday commissioned the new ultra-modern domestic terminal building at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Lagos Airport.
The project was built within 10 months at the cost of N648 million. While commissioning it, he said the transformation programme of President Goodluck Jonathan would attract more projects for the aviation sector, adding that the terminal was just a tip of the iceberg. He said government was not pleased with the decay in the industry and was left with no option than to massively intervene.
“Our airports are undergoing massive changes since last year and it’ll continue. Aviation is global and Nigeria must also operate within global standards and best practices. I commend the Aviation Minister for her relentless efforts to revamp the sector.
This administration is not just concerned about remodelling terminal buildings but also want to invest massively in equipment, weather facilities, security and safety equipment, etc. All these are to ensure the security, safety and comfort of airport users is not mortgaged at any point in time. To revamp the industry, it entails re-organisation, re-orientation, training of personnel.
So there’s need for all Nigerians to join in the transformation agenda,” he said. Also speaking at the programmme, the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah said the project was done with minimal funds because most of the purchases were done directly and through a third party. “Prudency is the word to describe it.
We are very prudent, we are very nationalistic and we make sure that Nigerians get what they rightly deserve and that is a comfortable world-class domestic terminal and I believe that is what we have given to Nigerians today.”
On the planned action by BiCourtney Aviation Services, she said the company was entitled to its claims but emphasised that the GAT was owned by the Nigerian people and not by a private individual. Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), George Uriesi who spoke to the media after the commissioning said the remodelled terminal, unlike before now, had the capacity of 2.8 million passengers per annum.
He explained that the terminal, which used to handle 400 passengers was now able to handle 1,500 passengers per hour and would improve the economics of the business in Lagos.
“This is the first terminal building constructed by the Federal Government in the past 30 years. There was a dilapidated building here till October 2011 and we demolished it in December and started work about January.
Now almost 11 months after we have an edifice.” Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Arik Air, Chris Ndulue extolled the government for the terminal building. He added that it would offer better comfort to passengers.