By Grace Chigbu
Lagos, Nigeria – The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has recognized the significance of Murtala Muhammed International Airport as the primary gateway to and from Nigeria, handling a substantial 60 percent of the country’s international passenger traffic. Nevertheless, the minister expressed his concern over the deteriorating state of the old terminal at the Lagos International Airport among the five international airports in Nigeria.
Mr. Keyamo made these statements during a meeting where the task force committee, which he had appointed to oversee the relocation of foreign airlines from the old terminal to the new one, presented their findings and recommendations in Abuja.
Commending the committee for their selfless service to the nation, Minister Keyamo assured his unwavering commitment to revitalizing the aging terminal before the end of his tenure. He emphasized the urgency of the situation by recalling the fire incident that occurred on September 6, 2023, which necessitated the immediate relocation of all airlines from the old terminal. Minister Keyamo pledged that measures would be put in place to prevent any future incidents of this nature.
Furthermore, Minister Keyamo affirmed his dedication to swiftly implement the recommendations put forth by the committee. He instructed a meeting with the contractors responsible for the airport to address concerns regarding substandard equipment and explore the possibility of enhancing airport access, including expanding their work schedule in accordance with the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreement.
Seizing the opportunity to outline his vision for the aviation sector, the minister spoke of a comprehensive master plan designed to optimize the country’s airports. He explained that this master plan would eliminate wastage and promote the interests of concessionaires, making the airports true hubs of activity. Importantly, the minister clarified that this master plan would not disrupt the ongoing renovation of the old terminal.
In an earlier presentation, the leader of the task force, Hassan Musa, a former director in the Department of Air Transport Management, elaborated on the expanded scope of the task force’s duties. He highlighted that the fire incident that led to the swift relocation of airlines to Terminal 2 had exacerbated existing challenges, which had persisted since the commencement of operations in April 2022.
Musa further pointed out that certain equipment installed at the international wing of the Lagos airport’s new terminal had failed to meet international standards. He also emphasized the lack of adequate entrances and exits at Terminal 2, an issue that must be addressed.
Minister Keyamo’s acknowledgment of Murtala Muhammed International Airport’s pivotal role in Nigeria’s aviation landscape highlights the urgency of restoring the old terminal’s functionality. With a commitment to swift action and a comprehensive master plan for the nation’s airports, the minister seeks to ensure a more efficient and secure experience for all passengers, while bolstering the status of these airports as regional and international hubs.