Thursday 24 January 2013

ABUJA GAT: A product of unwavering efforts - Uriesi

Aviation Nigeria

By George Uriesi

Today’s event is of great significance because it marks the formal commencement of general aviation services at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport since its inception in the early 80s, even though it is the second busiest airport in the country, after the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja. 

The airport has had to contend with decaying infrastructure and obsolete facilities that belied its position as the second busiest in the country, apart from being situated in the nation’s capital city. What was then the airport’s domestic terminal operated both scheduled and non-scheduled flights using the same tarmac and terminal facilities.

The resultant congestion did not augur well for efficient service delivery hence the need to separate the services into two terminals. Domestic flight operations were transferred to a wing of the international while the old domestic terminal was to be remodelled to serve as the General Aviation Terminal, for more efficient service delivery.

This new arrangement was made possible by the advent of airport remodelling project initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan and vigorously pursued by the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, who has not relented in reminding all of us that implementing the project to the letter is a task that must be done. Today’s commissioning of this new General Aviation Terminal is a product of her relentless effort.

We are happy to inform you that the Authority is bracing up for more commissioning ceremonies in the next few months because work on the remodelling of the other terminals under phase I of the airport remodelling project is nearing completion in Benin, Owerri, Yola, Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Calabar and Jos. 

You may also wish to recall that the reconstructed Domestic Terminal I (formerly GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja was commissioned in October, last year.

Work on the remodelling of this new General Aviation Terminal started in October, 2010 and was completed early this month. 

The project entailed the expansion of the old domestic terminal and its conversion to a general aviation terminal for non-scheduled flights. The new terminal has a full complement of modern terminal facilities including check-in counters, shops, offices, duty rooms, conference center, dining room, kitchen, security screening machines and lounges, including a separate lounge for pilots.

By today’s commissioning, scheduled and non-scheduled flights at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport will take place at two different terminals, creating opportunities for huge improvement in service delivery by FAAN and other service providers in the aviation industry. 

is our hope that the completion of the first and second phases of the airport remodelling project will transform Nigerian airports into a haven for viable private investments. We hereby invite all well meaning investors to join hands with Government to hasten the fulfilment of this dream.

We wish to thank our dear President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for believing in the potential of the aviation industry to make Nigeria great and for matching this belief with action, through the formulation of the Transformation Agenda for the industry. We also owe deep gratitude to the amazon of the industry, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah for her doggedness in realising the vision of the President for the industry. 

The airport remodelling project and other programmes for the industry would have remained mere paper work without the assistance of the National Assembly which has encouraged us through their various committees on aviation. We are grateful, Your Excellency. 

We also thank other stakeholders, who have, in one way or another, made today’s event possible through their various contributions.

On our part as FAAN, we wish to assure all Nigerians, especially aviation stakeholders, that our airports can only get better. The recent restructuring of the Authority was designed to make us adapt to recent developments in the industry so that our services will not fall short of acceptable international standards, as set by ICAO and I know that this is achievable.


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