Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Richard Aisuebogun

Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Richard Aisuebogun, has said it has now become expedient that the 22 federal airports should be privatized into companies.

According to him, the move will enhance their income generation capacity and deliver efficient services, adding: “That is the trend globally.”

He cited South African and Ghanaian airports as having being transformed from airport authorities to airport companies, with the private sector shareholders getting involved in its operations and business development.

This transformation, he averred, has made these airports to be efficiently managed for operational freedom.

The former FAAN boss, who spoke in Abuja at the 2nd Airport Business Summit and Expo which ends on Thursday, said getting the private sector involvement will give the airports the operational freedom and a greater measure of financial performance.

He advocated that there is need to encourage private investors into the country’s airport operation, adding, so that the so called unviable airports will become Strategic Business Units (SBUs), once this is done, these airports will now be challenged to raise benchmarks and operational standard for efficiency.

Aisuegbedion said: “We need to now begin to make the rest of the nation’s airports viable by investing in non-aeronautical activities. Out of the over 1600 airports across the globe, 1000 handles less than 1 million passengers annually. The challenge is therefore obvious.

“The tendency is that if they are companies under privatized commercialized model, then they would have to depend largely on non-aeronautical revenues. They will need to now depend on other activities within the airport to enhance their revenue platforms, therefore making them more business minded, rather just being operations as it is.”