.…as FAAN apologies …. passengers should arrive early for boarding formalities
…. teething problems reduced to the barest
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, says significant efforts have been made in addressing the challenges associated with the relocation of passenger activities from the old Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos Terminal One to the new terminal.
It would be recalled that, there was a fire incident at the basement of the terminal one caused by an inverter necessitating the speedy movement of operations from the old terminal to the new terminal.
This is just as the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace development Mr Festus Keyamo had earlier on an inspection of the airport facilities directed that, all passenger, airlines and other stakeholders activities be moved to the new terminal while the old one is shut down for total overhaul.
During a tour of the airport conducted by the Airport Manager and General Manager South West Airports Mr. Sunday Ayodele, the teething problems noticed the first and second day of the relocation have been reduced to the barest namely, the long queues of passengers, indiscriminate parking by motorists on the bridge and inadequate buses to convey passengers from the terminal to the aircraft and vice versa.
What the airport management had done regarding the crowd in front of the terminal comprising meeters and greeters is to station Aviation Security, AVSEC, the police and Air force officials to prevent those not travelling from entering the terminal to avoid congesting the entrance.
On vehicular traffic, all vehicles coming in are directed to the front of the old terminal to drop off travellers including VIP’s and they are expected to walk in with their luggage on the trolleys into the new terminal after ascertaining they are genuine passengers before screening their luggage to access the departure either using the elevator, lift or staircase.
One major challenge that caused the chaotic situation experienced the first day according to the MMIA terminal 2 manager, Mrs. Ojali Fatusi is the use of the facilities at the new terminal.
She said, the facilities are automatic and most stakeholders including airline staff could not cope thereby leading to delays of flights and the long queues inside and outside the terminal, adding that passengers too also had a hard time knowing what to do and where to go for their boarding formalities.
“All the facilities are installed to full capacity. The challenge we are having is that the people who were moved from the old terminal are not used to the facilities here. The once we have here are automatic”.
She said, plans are underway to train the stakeholders on the use of the facilities, adding that, the handlers of the equipment would come and do the needful.
“We needed to have trained them before they start making use of the facilities. We are still in the process and we are talking to the handlers so that they can get their supervisors trained on how to use the facilities we have here appropriately.. We don’t have problems with our screening machines and they are working very well”.
“We didn’t expect that it would be so sudden, though we were preparing. It was a bit more difficult two days ago. Yesterday was better and today has really improved and we are having everything under control”.
“This terminal can occupy about 39,000 users daily and that is the estimate from the original design”.
On crowd control, she said, “If you go outside now, the non-travelling people are being moved further away from the terminal so that we can attend to the passengers that are travelling”.
Taking the media round the new airport terminal, the Airport Manager, Mr. Sunday Ayodele denied passengers being stranded the first day, adding that, as explained by Mrs. Fatusi, airline staff and passengers did not understand how the facilities work.
He said, more buses to convey passengers to the terminal have been provided and stakeholders like the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO, also brought in their buses to help address complaints of inadequate buses.
Ayodele tendered an unreserved apologies for the troubles passengers and other airport users have suffered due to the sudden movement saying, “We planned this movement, but in phases, but the unfortunate incident that occurred now forced us to now move everyone. We want to use this opportunity to apologize to the travelling public, the airlines and the travelling public for the inconveniences they have been going through in the last few days”.
“But, it is something that we must do and people must move. We know the passengers are passing through some inconveniences”, he added.
He however frown at many non-travelling persons coming to the airport to receive or accompany those travelling and urged them to desist from coming to ensure sanity in the airport environment.
“We want to also advice the passengers that it is only them that would be allowed into the terminal building. Those that come with meeters and greeters should tell their family members not to come in. They need to do their facilitations alone in the terminal building so that we can have seamless facilitation”.
The Airport Manager noted that, the facility is big enough to accommodate airlines and passengers as facilitation do not take place at the same because of the airlines different schedules.
“Everybody is here now. This facility has been underutilized before now. The facility can process passengers at least 10 airlines at a ago. And remember, they don’t come at a time”.
“Virgin Atlantic, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Air Cote D’Ivoire, Asky and others operate from the new terminal”.
But one thing observed during the tour is the absence of commercial offerings, that is the concessionaires.
The concessionaires, operators of duty free shops, food courts/eateries were passengers can eat, shop are yet to move to the new terminal.
The airport manager said, the movement would soon happen and those who operated in the old terminal would be given priority as directed by the Minister.
Others places toured included the baggage area, the passport check in area where passengers where being attended to seamlessly.