The federal government at the weekend disclosed plan to demolish the international terminal of the Murtala Murhammed Airport (MMIA), Lagos, and rebuild it at the cost of N14 billion.
The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who made this known during a meeting with stakeholders in Lagos, said when the new terminal that is almost completed comes on stream before the end of the year, the old terminal would be demolished.
Sirika, said the airport which was inaugurated in 1999 for 200, 000 passenger capacity now processes about eight million passengers, noting that the facility has been overstretched.
This, he said was one of the reasons why it was becoming continuously uncomfortable for passenger facilitation.
The minister said major construction company, Julius Berger, had been contacted to carry our feasibility studies and projected the cost of rebuilding the terminal to be at N14 billion.
“The Lagos airport was built to handle N200, 000 people but today Lagos airport is handling eight million people. So it must collapse. Julius Berger will help give it the new look it requires.
“The airport generates most of the income, so it is only right we give it facelift it requires,” Sirika added.
The minister assured that the new Lagos airport terminal would be completed by the end of this year, and some of the operations at the old terminal could be moved to the new airport.
He clarified, however, that it was only after the new terminal is completed that the old one would be brought down for the commencement of rehabilitation work.
On his achievements in the industry, Sirika disclosed that out of 157 aviation projects the administration set out to achieve, it had completed about 130 of such projects, noting that the federal government was judiciously following the aviation roadmap.
The minister also reiterated that the national carrier project, the leasing company project and the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) programmes were still on, adding that they would be continued in the second term of the Buhari administration.
He said the aviation industry has increased its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product to $900 billion, but regretted that currently the country does not have strong airlines.
According to him, the President Buhari-led administration would support any domestic carrier that wants to build up its capacity and stressed the need for a national carrier, as the answer to the current limited capacity of the airlines.
He said many countries interested in developing air transport industry in Africa establish national airlines to help realise their aviation industry goals.
The minster remarked that there was increase in passenger traffic to over 18 million in 2018, and said that indications showed that it would continue to rise as more Nigerians are used to travelling.
“Nigeria is where the market is and all these airlines that come here and targeting the market in Nigeria so we have to develop capacity in order to compete and benefit from our huge travel market,” he said.