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FAAN boss says 19 Nigerian Airports not viable, depend on subsidy to remain afloat

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The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Olubunmi Kuku on Tuesday revealed that only three of Nigeria’s 22 international and domestic airports are commercially viable.

The disclosure, made on Channels Television by the FAAN chief underscores the financial challenges facing the majority of the country’s airports, with 19 of them requiring subsidies due to insufficient passenger traffic relative to their operational costs.

Kuku’s statement comes at a time when the aviation industry in Nigeria is grappling with the dual challenges of outdated infrastructure and financial sustainability.

FAAN, responsible for managing the nation’s airports, is now tasked with addressing these issues to enhance the efficiency and safety of air travel in Nigeria.

Background: A Snapshot of Nigeria’s Aviation Sector

Nigeria’s aviation sector is critical to its economy, connecting the country with global markets and facilitating domestic mobility.

However, the sector has faced persistent challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, financial inefficiencies, and regulatory hurdles. FAAN, as the primary body overseeing airport operations, has been at the forefront of efforts to modernize the country’s airports and improve their viability.

The Viability Dilemma

Kuku highlighted that only Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, and one other airport are financially self-sustaining.

The remaining 19 airports, spread across various regions, fail to generate enough revenue to cover their operational costs, necessitating government subsidies to keep them functional.

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Infrastructure Overhaul: A Priority

Addressing the infrastructural deficits is a key focus for FAAN. Many of Nigeria’s airports require significant upgrades to their terminal areas, landside facilities, and airside operations.

Kuku emphasized that several runways have exceeded their 20-year validity period and are due for urgent rehabilitation to meet safety and operational standards.

“The airport authority will prioritize these developmental goals this year,” Kuku stated, underscoring FAAN’s commitment to enhancing the country’s aviation infrastructure.

Looking Ahead: Strategic Plans

FAAN’s strategic plan involves a comprehensive overhaul of airport facilities, aimed at improving passenger experience and operational efficiency.

This includes modernizing terminal buildings, upgrading runways, and enhancing safety measures. The agency is also exploring public-private partnerships to attract investment and expertise in airport management and development.

In addition to infrastructure upgrades, FAAN is working on policy reforms to boost the commercial viability of the airports. This involves implementing cost-effective measures, enhancing revenue streams, and promoting tourism and business travel to increase passenger traffic.

Conclusion: Navigating Challenges for Future Growth

The revelation of the financial struggles of Nigeria’s airports by Olubunmi Kuku highlights the urgent need for systemic changes in the aviation sector. With only three airports being commercially viable, FAAN’s focus on infrastructure upgrades and strategic reforms is crucial for the sustainable growth of Nigeria’s aviation industry.

By addressing these challenges, FAAN aims to create a more robust, efficient, and financially sustainable aviation sector that can support Nigeria’s economic development and global connectivity.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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