Bi-Courtney Seeks Multi-Billion Naira Investments In Airports

Chairman, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), has expressed his desire to be part of the planned concession of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano airports under the concession agenda of the Federal Government.

According to him, his passion for infrastructure development informed his desire. Babalakin who said this at a press conference in Lagos on Friday said because of the impressive work done by his company on the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2), three African countries had approached the firm to build airport terminals for them.

Although he declined to mention the countries, he stated that  BASL had the capability to invest in infrastructure in any part of the world.

Meanwhile, there are indications that BASL may have submitted a bid for one of the airport terminals slated for concession and which had reached advanced stages. Babalakin said: “As soon as we finished this (MMA2) terminal, three African nations approached us to come and do terminals. Do you know why we couldn’t?

Two reasons: non-compliance with the agreements and method and cash flow. If you are expecting N100 and you are getting N25, what can you do? “Second reason: when you are going abroad, what you go with is a testimonial of your own place to say that ‘I did this, my government is backing me as I come to your country to come and do this for you. I am not going to say more than that.”

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MMA2

He added: “As we speak today, we’ve just been approached to do second terminals in four West African nations. We can pull it through, but what we are afraid of? Do we have support, because if you don’t have your government’s support and you go there and they maltreat you, you’re on your own.

“I think it will be better to consult those who have a track record. Before MMA2, nobody talked about terminals, but after its completion, Bauchi and Dutse now have terminals; I think Anambra State is planning to have one.

We  have succeeded immensely as an eye-opener to aviation infrastructure development in Nigeria.”

He appealed that his company should even be given the right of the first offer in the bidding because it had shown expertise and excelled in infrastructure development going by its track record in airports infrastructure provision.

Babalakin said BASL had no issue with the 36-year-old concession agreement of MMA2 but lamented that the authorities refused to release the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) to the firm which he said was one of the conditions for concession.

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He said, “There is a bid going on for the four international terminals. In other climes, the authorities will call on those who have done it before. But what is the success rate of the companies coming to Nigeria to operate? How can government bring expertise from overseas when you have them locally?

”BASL is interested in anything that is intellectual infrastructure development. I am a lawyer and an infrastructure developer, we are interested in the concession. In fact, we should be the first option because, in very organised countries, we would be given a first option offer. And maybe, our participation will make the process a fair one.”

While insisting that there is no controversy over the concession agreement, he said the GAT belongs to BASL by law.

“The GAT was handed over to us by the government, but at the same time, decided to enhance it and compete with us. The worse that can happen to an investor is for your competitor to have government money to compete and it is totally wrong for the authority to be competing in the same sphere,” he added.

Investigation by Aviation Metric shows that that the efficiency in the way the terminal is being managed attracted even airlines that have their operational base at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), known as domestic airport terminal 1 (MMA1) and they routed some of their flights from MMA2.

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Babalakin disclosed that BASL has no issue with the 36 years of concession agreement of MMA2 but lamented that the authorities refused to release the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) to it which he said was one of the conditions for concession.

“There is a bid going on for the four international terminals, In other climes, the authorities will call on those who have done it before. But what is the success rate of the companies coming to Nigeria to operate? How can government bring expertise from overseas when you have them locally?

” BASL is interested in anything that is intellectual infrastructure development. I am a lawyer and an infrastructure developer, we are interested in the concession, in fact, we should be the first option because, in very organised countries, we would be given a first option offer. And maybe, our participation will make the process a fair one”, he said.

Wole Shadare