The terminal at Muritala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos was built over 40 years ago by the administration of the late Head of State, Muritala Muhammed. The terminal which was built with the intention of facilitating 200,000 passengers per year, now facilitates the above installed capacity.
For this reason, the previous administration approved the construction of Lagos terminals and three other terminals at Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports at the rate of $500 million.
The Lagos project was managed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and was delivered in March 2022 to carry 14 million passengers per year.
In addition to stakeholders’ fear regarding the ramp and apron, they also expressed concern that the new terminal building will replace the old terminal.
The lack of parking space, however, has forced the terminal to operate at reduced capacity or to have inconvenient hangers demolished to widen the car parks.
Stakeholders argued that the avio and about seven finger bridges are elegantly positioned, but questioned the narrow path to the last four fingers, which they said will be a challenge for widebody aircraft.
However, quelling the tension among stakeholders over their fear, Information Minister Alhaji Lai Muhammed during a recent visit to MMIA Terminal 2 said the terminal is the first terminal added to Terminal 2. origin since its construction about 40 years ago. .
Muhammed, who described his visit to the edifice as an exhilarating experience comparable to what is happening all over the world, reiterated that the new Lagos airport terminal was not built to replace Terminal 1 but to complete it.
He also disclosed that efforts are in place to extend the ramp for wide body aircraft used by foreign airlines, even as the leadership of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) revealed that five foreign airlines will start to operate from the terminal by September.
“The Terminal 2 project started in 2013 and was completed by the current administration in 2022 under a bilateral agreement with the People’s Republic of China. The terminal, which has state-of-the-art facilities and amenities, has the capacity to handle 14 million passengers per year.
“It has 60 check-in counters, five baggage claim belts, 16 departure counters and 28 arrival counters. There are eight security checkpoints at International Terminal 2 and seven passenger boarding bridges. There is a whole new experience in terms of aesthetics, comfort, free tram services, hotel and premium lounges, friendly customer services and free wifi,” the minister said.
He assured that more than 10,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities have been created in the new terminal.
He hinted that the Lagos terminal is replicated in four other terminals across the country Abuja, Port Harcourt Enugu and Kano, adding that this building, and others like it, demonstrate the commitment to the unprecedented infrastructure development of the Buhari administration covering the roads. , bridges, railways, hydraulic dams, seaports, etc.
Regarding the delayed start of flight operations at the new terminal in Lagos, he said there was a need to test the installation first and be extremely certain that each piece of equipment was working optimally before the terminal was put in place. in service.
“I was here 40 years ago when the first terminal went into service. There is a time between when an airport is commissioned and when the airport becomes operational. You know that aviation forgives no mistakes. So we have to test and be extremely certain that each piece of equipment works optimally,” Mohammed said.
He assured that the Chinese loan used for the construction of the new terminal would be repaid, adding that the major problem is that the tax to GDP ratio is so low because most Nigerians do not pay taxes.
He, however, called on Nigerians to help the government pay their taxes, so that there would be a reduction in the deficit the country is experiencing.
Regarding the maintenance of the terminal, he said: “I can assure you that the issue of maintenance up to the cleaning of the airport has been taken care of. In fact, we refuse to compromise. At first some people said that we should outsource the maintenance of the airport to local companies, but I said that what is important is safety and security.
“When we entrust the maintenance to competent people, they will also be obliged within a certain time to transfer the technology to local companies. To this day, the best in the world are taking care of the maintenance of this airport,” he added.
Rabiu Yadudu, Chief Executive of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), who also spoke during the facility tour, said FAAN would rather take their time than start flight operations at the new airport on bad ground, adding that this does not mean nothing is done.
Yadudu said that from September 1, or within the next two weeks, five more airlines are expected to start operations at the new international terminal.
He assured that much of the integration needs to be done and that more than eight airlines have expressed interest in starting operations in the new terminal, but five start from September 1.
“There is a transfer area with the old terminal where passengers will transfer from one terminal to another. The plane must be able to park on one side. The second part is for the FAAN to work with the federal government to provide clearance from the obstruction so that there is accessibility for aircraft to park in that area.
“As for business, some of these duty free businesses are international businesses and it takes time for them to come, especially when you come to a government run area, there are a lot of due process. Most of the basics are there like the Bureau De Change (BDC), restaurants, pharmacies and these are the must-sees. In the next few weeks we will have part of the start of duty free, ”he said.