Why we can’t have 24-hour operations at all Nigerian airports-FAAN MD

 

The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Rabiu Yadudu said the possibility of having 24-hour operations in all the airports across the country was not feasible because of the enormous costs to keep them operational when just one or two flights operate to the aerodromes.

Yadudu who spoke to the media in Lagos said nobody or airport authority would keep an aerodrome functional when there is no commensurate profit to be made from the venture.

Yadudu cited an instance where an airline wrote to the authority to operate 24 hours to Yola, stressing that after getting the letter, the authority wrote back to the carrier to give an assurance that it would mobilize equipment, personnel, and resources to the facility to aid seamless operations for the airline only for the carrier not to pursue the interest any longer.

 

From left: General Manager, Aviation Security, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Dr. Anna Egbadon; Managing Director, FAAN Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu and Ag. General Manager Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Faithful A.Hope- Ivbaze, today at a press briefing in Lagos

His words, “FAAN wants all airports to operate 24/7 because it is a business for FAAN. We earn our revenue from that operation; we are a service delivery agency, but the challenge is will the 24/7 pay for itself? Somebody has to pay for the 24/7 operations. Will the business pay for itself? If we open an airport with just only three landings, FAAN will close down. No organization in the world will do that. Even, if you go to Europe, you will find out that many airports are sunrise to sunset. You can operate an airport even from sunrise to midday so that everybody that knows should go around that window”.

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“FAAN cannot operate an airport that we cannot breakeven, because we are already challenged. We want a 24/7 day airport, but we need to know if the business will be sustainable. At first, some of the businesses may look as if they are sustainable even for the next two years. So, somebody must be ready to have the business model to sustain 24/7 operations. I cannot commit to 24/7 operations when you are not coming”.

He noted that even in Europe and other developed places, so many airports still operate sunrise to set airport operations. An airline once wrote to FAAN that it wanted to operate at Yola airport. We looked at it and said we were not going to deny them the service. Having to run a 24-hour operation is good but it takes a lot of effort and it costs so much.”

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“We asked the airline for the feasibility study of running the service for at least six months. We do not want a situation where we start and less than two weeks you stop. We waited for the airline and we never saw the airline again.  A lot goes into it like fueller. We don’t open airports for 24 hours anyhow”, he added.

“One airline came to us that they wanted to operate 24/7 operations to Yola and wanted FAAN to extend the time for them, but I told them that we will need a lot of money to do that. An airline may decide to open a route today and dispatch just one aircraft, but FAAN, NAMA, and co will have to mobilise personnel, ensure efficiency and fix facilities that can be moved in and out.

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“Sometimes, fuelers and handlers will be needed. We don’t want a situation whereby an airline will start a route now and in the next few months, it will stop such route due to a lack of passengers. Then, who will pay for all we have gone through?

Wole Shadare