Home Airports FAAN’s Strategic Roadmap: Enhancing Infrastructure, Security, and Passenger Experience

FAAN’s Strategic Roadmap: Enhancing Infrastructure, Security, and Passenger Experience

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Mrs Olubunmni kuku, MD FAAN

…FAAN Chief Outlines Extensive Plans for Infrastructure Overhaul and Security Enhancements

In an exclusive interview, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), discussed the significant upgrades and investments earmarked for Nigerian airports. With a capital allocation exceeding N23 billion, the focus is on enhancing infrastructure, ensuring security, and improving passenger experiences across the country’s airports.

Infrastructure Overhaul

Mrs. Kuku emphasized the critical need for infrastructure upgrades, noting that many of the 22 airports under FAAN’s management are aging. “The average lifespan of a typical runway is about 20 years. We do have quite a number of them that have exceeded that time,” she said. The allocated funds will primarily target the full rehabilitation of runways, upgrading terminal infrastructures, and improving passenger amenities such as cooling systems, electricity, and plumbing.

“When you refer to a number, N23 .1 billion or N23 billion, it actually scratches the surface”.

MMIA Lagos

Key airports like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, and Enugu are set to receive major upgrades, including terminal expansions and enhancements to airside infrastructure, such as airfield lighting systems and the adoption of Category 3 and Category 2 instrument landing systems.

“We’ve been doing some palliative works and as such, a significant amount of the money that has been earmarked would actually go into full rehabilitation of the runways”.

Security Enhancements

Security remains a top priority for FAAN. The aviation security team, AVSEC, oversees and coordinates multiple security agencies at the airports. Mrs. Kuku highlighted recent initiatives, led by the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Kayamo, and the National Security Adviser, to improve security protocols. These measures include a task force to monitor and manage personnel activities, new identification systems for security staff, and avenues for passengers to report solicitations through QR codes and SERVICOM channels.

Mrs. Kuku with the newly formed security taskforce MMIA Lagos

“We’re working tactically and there are very severe measures in place to make sure that anyone found wanting will definitely be punished and will be leveraged based on the security agencies that they represent”. 

Operational and Management Reforms

Mrs. Kuku outlined significant reforms aimed at bridging the skills gap within FAAN and fostering a culture of ownership and accountability among airport managers. “Our airport managers are the CEOs of the airports they run,” she stated, emphasizing the importance of leadership and decision-making at the local level.

FAAN has also launched a cultural accreditation program to ensure that staff at all levels understand their roles and responsibilities, aiming to provide a seamless and professional service to passengers.

Addressing Unviable Airports

A major challenge for FAAN is the profitability of its airports. Only three out of the 22 managed airports are currently profitable, with the rest relying on cross-subsidies. Mrs. Kuku stressed the importance of economic activities to drive passenger traffic rather than merely building new airports. “We need to think at the bottom of the value chain, to say what are the key activities that can drive traffic into those airports,” she advised.

“I would also say that we’re actually cross subsidizing the other 19 airports today. And in most instances, we will substitute or cross subsidize for some of the airports that are coming on board as well, especially if you look at the current system where we’re contributing 50 percent of the revenue that we earn back into the federal coffers”. 

To enhance the viability of airports, FAAN is engaging with international organizations like IATA and the Federal Ministry of Aviation to develop new routes and make certain airports transit hubs. This strategy aims to optimize existing infrastructure and leverage it for trade facilitation and economic growth.

Mrs Kuku on an Inspection tour of one of the airports

Future Outlook and Timeframes

Mrs. Kuku provided a roadmap for the immediate, medium, and long-term development of Nigerian airports. In the short term, over the next six months, the focus is on basic infrastructure improvements, such as lighting systems and terminal cleanliness. The medium term will see larger infrastructure upgrades and terminal expansions over the next two to three years, while long-term plans involve correcting past mistakes and collaborating with consultants and engineers.

“The medium term is really where we start to focus on larger infrastructure upgrades expansion of the terminal some of that is going on right now so we’re looking at expansion of the terminals but at least we’re looking over the next two to three years larger systemic”. 

“If you look at airports like Lagos Abuja as well as Port Harcourt, we have started some minor rehabilitation works but we’re working very closely because there are some mistakes that have also been made in the past that we’re looking to correct so we’re working with a consortium of consultants as well as engineers to make sure that we can actually correct some of those”.

Cargo and Transportation Initiatives

The potential for cargo transport in Nigeria is significant, with Mrs. Kuku noting the importance of strategically locating cargo terminals near market centers to facilitate efficient product movement. FAAN is also exploring private sector participation through concessions, management contracts, and joint ventures to enhance cargo infrastructure and operations.

“There actually does exist a huge potential for cargo in Nigeria largely. We’re an import nation, especially from an air cargo perspective. I believe that over the last few years, we processed about 280 ,000 tons of cargo”. 

Additionally, FAAN is streamlining car rental services at airports, including international operators like Bolt and Uber, to improve passenger experience and support carbon emission reduction initiatives with electric vehicles.

“The other thing that we’re doing very quickly in support of Mr. President’s agenda and making sure that we focus on carbon emission is also ride -hailing platforms, so electric vehicles within the airport environments”. 

Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku’s comprehensive plan for Nigeria’s airports aims to modernize infrastructure, enhance security, and improve overall operational efficiency, ensuring that the aviation sector can meet the growing demands of the future.

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