The general manager, corporate communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in this interview with journalists explained why the agency automated its car park at the Lagos Airport, removal of abandoned aircraft at Lagos airport, among other issues.
Why did FAAN decide to automate the car park at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos?
The management found out that there was a lot of rowdiness at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the local airport in Lagos while parking too also became an issue at the airport. So, we decided to overhaul the entire system and see how we could make it orderly because we were getting a lot of complaints from our passengers and airport users that they were not getting a space to park their vehicles.
Then, we were wondering if all these people who park at the car park were airport workers and travellers or they were just those who were taking the advantage of almost free parking space and will just come, park their vehicles and go about their normal businesses. So, that was what prompted the automation and of course, we are at age of technology now. People no longer do things manually, everything is now technology.
And since we started, there has been a lot of sanity at the car park, there is a lot of orderliness and sanity. As soon as you go into the airport, you just go into the car park without any issues. In time past, there were lots of queues. As the vehicles come in, then, you now wonder the cause of the traffic and of course FAAN started discouraging members of the public from parking at the access road. Once you get into the airport, if you are not dropping, you are encouraged to go to the car park and do your business there, rather than park on the road and thereby creating unwarranted traffic.
What is your assessment of the performance of the automation system so far?
As you know, we started the automation exercise this January. FAAN is still looking at the system, but so far, it has changed a lot of things in the system and working to our favour and the travelling public. Like I told you earlier, there is sanity now. You can now come into GAT and find adequate parking spaces. It is safe and more convenient. It has introduced so many good things for us as an agency and also to the travelling public.
On a daily basis, we record an average of 1,000 vehicles from the GAT alone. With this, we are able to keep records of vehicles that use the facility.
Compare and juxtapose the revenues earned by FAAN then and now?
With the automation, we are making more money. As you know, automation is much better than manual collection because the passengers themselves feel even more relief. When you drive in, you are given a coin and the moment you pay the toll fare, you drop the coin and the exit opens automatically for you. So, there is no short-changing of either the driver or FAAN. The system has improved and has earned a lot of revenues for FAAN. Again, the revenue generated by FAAN in one month of the automation of the park, increased by 68 per cent at GAT when you compared it to December 2017 when we were still doing it manually.
Is there any possibility that FAAN in the future may review the parking fee?
Like I said earlier, it’s a new system and I am sure at the end of this first quarter, FAAN would review it and look at its performance. If we get complaints from the members of the public, I’m sure; FAAN would do something about the fare charged.
What is the plan of FAAN towards the construction of a multi-storey building at the car park?
As you know, FAAN just completed the construction of a multi storey car park at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, plans are on ground too for us to do same at the GAT. When we commence the construction, everyone would see it. This is going to happen very soon, but I can’t give you a date.
How far have you gone with the evacuation of the disused aircraft at the Lagos Airport?
All the abandoned aircraft at the taxiway of the Lagos Airport have been moved to the graveyard of the airport. We are not disposing off the aircraft. Their owners can still have access to the aircraft whenever they want to do so. It is necessary for aircraft to be able to manoeuvre and have access whenever they are at the taxiway. So, all the 13 aircraft at Lagos Airport have been removed. After Lagos, we are going to Kano Airport and other airports with disused aircraft until we clear all our airports of abandoned and disused aircraft. We are taking them one after the other.