MMA2, symbol of innovation, excellence 17 years after

For over the past 17 years, the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 better known as MMA2 run by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) has evolved into a symbol of excellence, innovation, and efficiency in the Nigerian aviation industry.

Through steadfast dedication and tireless efforts, the operators have achieved numerous milestones that have propelled the facility to the forefront of the global aviation landscape.

One key achievement BASL was immensely proud to highlight on Monday as the firm celebrated its 17 years of existence was the resounding success of our Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

From left: Head, Corporate Communications, Murtala Muhammed Airport two (MMA2), Mrs Ajoke Yinka-Olawuyi; Chairman, League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents, (LAAC), Mr Suleiman Idris; Acting Chief Executive Officer, MMA2, Mr Remi Jibodu and Ms Monica Oguta, Head, Aviation Security, MMA2 during the Press Conference by MMA2 on the 17th Anniversary celebration and tour of new facilities at MMA2 on Monday in Lagos

This innovative approach has not only enhanced the operational efficiency of its terminal but has also fostered collaboration with private entities, enabling them to deliver world-class services to their passengers and stakeholders.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of MMA2, Mr. Remi Jibodu at a parley with the media at the company’s premises in Lagos highlighted the contributions of its stakeholders who have been with them from the very beginning.

Notably among them, he said is the first airline that departed its aircraft from its runway, Chanchangi Airline Flight NCH 334, with aircraft registration number 5N BEU, which lifted 70 passengers and departed at exactly 17:15 on May 7, 2007.  This he said opened the skies for numerous departures from our terminal.

“Today, we currently have a total of 10 domestic airlines flying out of our terminal daily. They are Ibom Air, Valuejet, Air Peace, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Dana Air, United Nigeria Airlines, Azman Air, Max Air, and Rano Air. We are immensely grateful for the partnerships we share with them. We play host to over ten thousand guests every day at this terminal, including passengers, stakeholders, concessionaires, and many others who come here to shop, eat, and fly.”

The situation he noted has strengthened their commitment to continuous improvement and significant development of our infrastructure, stressing that the introduction of their state-of-the-art multi-story car park has revolutionised the parking experience for passengers, providing convenience and ease of access.

“Additionally, implementing e-gates at our central screening point has streamlined passenger facilitation, ensuring a seamless journey through our airport and enhancing our security architecture.”

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“Furthermore, our unwavering focus on reliability and sustainability is exemplified by establishing uninterrupted power supply systems. This critical infrastructure ensures that our operations remain resilient in the face of unforeseen challenges, safeguarding the travel experience for all our passengers”, he added.

He disclosed that recently, as a terminal, they developed a flight disruption guideline after noticing a growing trend of passenger unrest at the slightest provocation, hinting that this often leads to property damage and abuse of staff and users of the airport.

He further stated that the unrest has been tremendously reduced to the barest minimum.

According to Jibodu, “Over the past seventeen years, we have consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation, setting new standards for efficiency, safety, and customer satisfaction. Our commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by the numerous accolades and awards that adorn our walls.”

From being recognised as the “Best Airport Terminal of the Year 2023″ and “Best Airport Terminal Lounge” to receiving the prestigious CSR award in recognition of its outstanding commitment to promoting safety and wellness, he said they have continuously raised the bar.

MMA2 airport terminal, Lagos

This success he reiterated cannot be achieved without the collective effort and dedication of the staff, partners, and stakeholders who have played an integral role in our success.

Their unwavering commitment to excellence he noted has been instrumental in shaping the legacy of this airport.

“However, among our many achievements, let me single out one gem—the MMA2 Training Center. This centre stands as a testament to our commitment to nurturing the next generation of aviation professionals. Through our state-of-the-art facilities and hands-on training by aviation professionals, we are shaping the future leaders of the aviation industry.”

“Our training centre is not just a place of learning; it is a symbol of empowerment, providing individuals with the tools they need to soar to new heights. Whether it’s aspiring ground staff learning the intricacies of customer service or advanced aviation security courses, our training centre is a place where dreams take flight.”

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Looking ahead, the MMA2 chief said they are poised to embark on an exciting journey toward continued growth and innovation.

“Our plans include further expansion of our terminal facilities, implementation of improved technology to enhance security, sustainable initiatives to expand our cargo ecosystem, and the commencement of regional operations from our terminal’, he added.

Since it came on board 15 years ago, MMA2, operated by BASL, has changed the face of the Nigerian aviation sector through an innovative approach to airport operation and management. It has also clinched many laurels that acknowledged it as the best airport terminal in the country.

Paradoxically, when the terminal was conceived, the government of the day wanted just ‘a shed’ where passengers would just buy tickets, move to the tarmac and fly. It is to the credit of the chief promoter of the MMA2 terminal, Dr Wale Babalakin SAN, who insisted that the initial drawing should be changed, that Nigeria now has one of the best airport terminals in Africa.

The story of MMA2 is an interesting one, which began in 2000 when the Federal Government launched a process of reforms in the national economy, including the aviation sector.

The old domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) had been gutted by fire and the government wanted a brand new one to replace it without any financial obligation on its part.

It then advertised for a DBOT bid, and as stated earlier, SVL came tops and was awarded the concession. Months after however, the project remained in limbo as SVL failed to commence work.

The mantle thereafter fell on the reserve bidder, BASL, which, in 2003, was awarded the concession by the Federal Government to develop, finance, manage and operate the terminal and ancillary assets under a Design-Build-Operate-Transfer (DBOT) arrangement. The project description included the airport terminal building, a multi-storey car park, an apron, a four-star hotel and a conference centre.

MMA2 was the first major DBOT project of such magnitude in Nigeria by Nigerians. Many were sceptical about the project coming to fruition, but Babalakin and his team immediately set to work, raising funds and assembling experts to beat the deadline.

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Their dreams came to fruition on April 7, 2007, when an ecstatic President Obasanjo (as he then was) inaugurated the terminal while operations began there on April 7, 2007.

In a reminiscence years after, Babalakin said, “For Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) in Lagos, there was a well-advertised bid for the airport and there were responses. At the end of the day, some companies emerged as the winners and we emerged as the reserved bidder.

“A year later, the Minister of Aviation called us and said the preferred bidder had not delivered on their commitment and told us to come in as the reserved bidder. When we came in, the design we were given by the authority was just a shed; we were told to build a shed for Nigerians as their Airport.

“I had gone to South Africa for a meeting and South Africa was then completing its domestic airport. When I looked at it, I cried that we were going to build a shed in 2003, when South Africa had just completed a domestic terminal that looked like something out of this world in 2003.

“So, I came back and told the then minister, Mrs Kema Chikwe, what I saw. She looked at it and was amazed. She advised me to make a presentation. We went through the whole process and our design was approved. That is the MMA2 you see today. To actualise it, we brought in South African architects and supported them with Nigerian architects.

From left: Head, Corporate Communications, Murtala Muhammed Airport two (MMA2), Mrs Ajoke Yinka Olawuyi; Acting Chief Executive Officer, MMA2, Mr Remi Jibodu and Ms Monica Oguta, Head, Aviation Security, MMA2 during the Press Conference by MMA2’s 17th anniversary celebration on Monday in Lagos.

“That is why 17 years after it was completed, there is no airport terminal in Nigeria that has the flow of MMA2 because it was well-thought-out and designed.”

Wole Shadare

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