The regional manager in charge of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Edwin Olarerin, has said that the airport would be able to accommodate about 6,000 passengers at the completion of the ongoing rehabilitation at the international terminal of the airport. According to him, the terminal was originally built to accommodate only 1000 passengers.
Olalerin said the on-going remodelling exercise was the best to happen to the industry since the airport was constructed over 30 years ago.
“With the present facility created, the airport can handle 6,000 passengers. That is about 10 wide bodied aircraft if not more”
He noted that passenger and cargo movements increased last October compared to October 2011 while there was a decline in aircraft movements during the middle of the year due to Dana Air crash.
“As for passenger movements in October 2012 in relation to last year, we have 640, 845 which happen to be about 11 per cent increase over October last year. We equally have the cargo figure as follows 16,0160542 kg of cargo that entered and left the country in October 2012 and this happened to be about 25 per cent increase over 2011. But unfortunately, we have a decrease in aircraft movement . The aircraft movement for October was 8,527, with eight per cent decrease from 2011 figures. This was as a result of the ban imposed on some of our domestic airlines after the Dana crash,” he said.
Olalerin expressed optimism that the future was bright for aviation in the country with the figures on ground especially with the extension of the cargo zone.
On restoring sanity at the airport, the manager explained that a standing joint taskforce made up of all security agencies at the airport was already in place patrolling between cargo, domestic and international wings of the airports to ensure that miscreants were warded off from the airport.
He explained that with the remodelling project, the airport has been repositioned for optimal performance and there was need for security to be beefed up adding that the era of ten relatives escorting passenger to the airport was over.
Speaking on the need to generate revenue from non-aeronautical sources at the airport, Olalerin said the Aviation Minister was already addressing the issue with the creation of the cargo directorate department and advert unit in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
“We are shifting from aeronautical to non-aeronautical ventures, at MMIA because we have not really exploited it. In the next three years, I expect you to see result because we are still at the developing stage”
He regional manager expressed satisfaction with the level of fire cover at the MMIA, adding that the airport was equipped with six fire trucks as against the minimum of three as stipulated by the international Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
While urging passengers to be patience due to the ongoing work at the airport, Olalerin acknowledged the hardship being faced by them as a result of the rehabilitation work. He assured them that in the next few months, they will witness a stress-free travel.