The federal government has confirmed that the facilities at the new international terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos are inadequate and constitute hindrance to passenger facilitation.
This was contained in the findings of the task force set up by the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, which disclosed that some equipment installed at the facility, known as Terminal 2, do not meet the international standard equipment for international airports.
The task force also disclosed that there were no adequate entrance and exits to the terminal in line with international standard requirements and warned that the consequence of these limitations could be disastrous.
The finding of the task force was also in line with earlier study carried out by Arcaid, Architects and Environmental Consultants, which revealed that the new airport terminal was inadequate for targeted passenger traffic and lacked essential facilities.
The report of the studies made available to THISDAY then, disclosed that to provide the infrastructure that were lacking in the terminal, government has to deploy over $500 million and dovetail the terminal to the multistory car park and seamlessly to the old terminal.
Details of the report disclosed that adequate feasibility study was not carried out before locating the terminal at Lagos airport where the facilities obstructed the fire service and the control tower respectively.
The studies also revealed that essential facilities that were absent in the new terminal, include landside link, which ought to link the new terminal to the old, drop off canopy, access roads, apron and taxiway, water treatment upgrade and power improvement equipment.
When the study was released to the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika he deployed funds to carry out remedial work on the facility but there were structural limitations, as the study indicated.
Sirika explained then that the planning of the project did not envisage that the building would lead to additional works, power and water supply, adding that the building will block both the control and fire towers, which will require relocation. He said additional work was required to link it with the existing terminal as well as expanding the apron to accommodate bigger airplanes.
Despite the remedial work, other defects remain, which include the lack of enough apron space, which is not wide enough to accommodate wide body aircraft such as Boeing Dreamliner B787, Boeing B777, Boeing B747, Airbus A350 and many others. The terminal has one entrance, which drastically restrict movement of passengers to the terminal, especially at peak hours and there are many things not in the original plan of the building but which are very critical for the functionality of the terminal that must be provided.
Some of the facilities that were lacking were later incorporated, while others were not. There were no landside link and canopy, which is the covered link from the new terminal building to the existing terminal building. There was no airside link, which is the covered link from the new terminal to the existing terminal building along apron side. There was no new terminal drop off, which is the lay-by off the existing access road. It is required to easily connect to the new terminal building at the arrival level. There was also no access road, which was the road required to accommodate the increased volume of traffic of the arriving passengers exiting from the terminal.
Arcaid observed in its report that landside link was not part of the scope of the work of the project. It also added that the airside link and access road were outside the scope of the project but ought to be provided.
Arcaid then recommended to the Ministry of Aviation that the link was required for seamless smooth operation of the airport, “hence the need for the construction before the completion of the project.”
It also noted that the airside link was essential and needed to be constructed, “and also the new terminal drop off zone needed to be constructed before the completion of the project to avoid traffic congestion and smooth operation of the airport.”
Arcaid also recommended that the bridge in front of the existing terminal required expansion to accommodate the traffic from the new terminal building and concourse; “therefore, new bridge should be put in place.
“Some of these recommendations were carried out before the completion of the project but there were some, which were strategic that were not carried out due to limited space or the design could not be changed” and there was supposed to be a link between the car park and the new terminal,” observed a senior official of a major international airline that operatives at the airport.
But the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo has vowed to provide all the essential facilities needed to make the new terminal functional and recent visit to the facility showed work being done to further remedy the deficiencies at the terminal.
In a recent interview with the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, he commended the efforts of the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Kabir Mohammed, whom he said has been working very hard to provide the needed requirements, both infrastructure and personnel so that the major airports could be certified by NCAA in accordance to ICAO requirements and standards.
However, many in the industry blamed the FAAN management that started the project for lack of proper feasibility study and the location of the terminal in the current place.
The President of Aircraft and Owners Pilots Association of Nigeria, Dr Alex Nwuba, said the problem is the inability of the Nigerian government to trust the ability of what Nigerians can do and frowned at the tendency to always cede critical jobs to foreigners.
“Design centers around philosophy, not building or space. What is the philosophy of Nigerian Aviation? What is the five years; 10 years; 20 years plan for the industry? We must set out short, medium, long long-term goals of the industry before we design. No outsider understands the nature of our society to design for it,” he said.