….promises to wield into lingering crisis between them and FAAN
Senate and House of Representatives committee on aviation have expressed shock with the call by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2) for the closure of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) One, based on the concession agreement signed with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.
Managing Director of BASL, Captain Jari Williams made the call during the joint committee’s oversight visit to the terminal.
The committee members who were taken aback with the call, murmured in unison to show their disagreement.
Captain Williams who was given room to give reasons for this call that did not go down well with the committee members, claimed that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had taken over 50 per cent of its revenues with the continuous operation of the terminal.
According to him, the BOT was initially signed for 12 years but was later extended to 36 years.
He said in the agreement, only the MM2 was supposed to be the only domestic terminal where all operators are housed and flight operations take place, adding that the terminal has the capacity to handle over 4 million passengers.
He lamented that only five out of the eight domestic carriers were operating from the terminal, a situation, which he said had affected its operations.
“This terminal is also positioned to handle regional flights out of Lagos. The airlines are willing to operate their regional flights out of here, but FAAN is stopping them. There are lots of breaches in the concession agreement when government kept open the GAT, which was part and parcel of passengers calculated for this project.
“50 per cent of our revenues end up in GAT. We have been trying to make the project going despite the 50 per cent shortage. The stunted growth development here would have been addressed if the government had obeyed the agreement. The revenue loss is colossal. We want the GAT operations to be stopped so that we can have a good working relationship with FAAN”.
He challenged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to be an impartial judge in the case, stressing that the agency must be independent and should mitigate on the concession issue.
Williams said though, the matter is now before the court, he urged the committee members to wield into the matter with a view to resolving the lingering crisis.
Responding, chairman senate committee on aviation, senator Adamu Aliero said it was not possible to shut down the GAT to pave way for the MM2.
“We are aware that you have made huge investments with the construction of this terminal because of the confidence you have in our country. Agreement is an agreement and everyone should abide by it,”.
Aliero assured that the National Assembly knew the case was in the court, but called for the issue to be resolved for the benefits of the two organisations and Nigeria in general.
“We are going to wade into this controversy between Bi-Courtney and FAAN, we are going to do our very best to broker peace. I think that is exactly what the Joint Committee of the National Assembly is up to. To make sure that justice is done, we are poised to solve the lingering crisis for the benefit of Nigeria, for the benefit of Bi-Courtney and other stakeholders involved in the project”.
Also speaking at the venue, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation,Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, vowed that the National Assembly would intervene on the issue.
“And on the issue on ground, we have requested all necessary document which we believe will help us to get to the root of the matter. With the collaboration of everyone, we will try our possible best to resolve the feud between Bi-Courtney and FAAN”.
The Director-General, NCAA, Captain Muktar Usman, Managing Director of NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, Managing Director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, representative of the AIB commissioner, Mohammed Wali and other management staff from the agencies were on the entourage of the National Assembly members.