Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka has said that there were certain inconsistencies with the citing the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and the original plan stating that if the plan was adhered to some of the problem s faced including citing of a second runway would not be.
This is just as he said that there is no master plan for our airports that shows study of the traffic projection by airport, zoning of the airport, future growth of the airport, the economic drive that would make the airport grow and others.
Chidoka made this known in a chat with the media recently while stating that there are plans to upgrade the airport masterplan in the country and government will get people to redo the master plans for the airport for the next 10 years as it is a living document, growing and evolving.
He said,” When I came and they said there is a master plan and I said it is not a master plan but a road map and it can help as we can peg it into a master plan. A master plan would have avoided all the mistakes that we have today even the sighting of our new terminal that we are doing today. It would have even told us about the second runway in Abuja and whether we should have even put the new terminal where we have it now or we put it to the new site. This is why we want to do a new master plan.”
“This national stadium that you see today is in the Abuja master plan. It shows two places for the airport; the one where we are today and the one in Kwali and the master plan says the current one is going to be a small airport because of the hills surrounding it, it is closer to the city and cannot be expanded beyond what it is, but unfortunately, at that time, we all went into the current one and built it with one runway and found out that the second runway, a parallel runway because of the hills.”
“A master plan is a place where we do the study of the traffic projection by airport, zoning of the airport, future growth of the airport, the economic drive that would make the airport grow and others. If you go to Heathrow Airport today, it is currently building the fourth runway at the cost of 21bn pounds.”
“So, in Nigeria, what we have done in our airport is that we have different buildings here and there, they are building a new terminal, bring down a building, but the future site of terminals were already in the master plan and each airport has its own master plan, but they need to be updated and brought to the current realities. So, we are still going to advertise to get people to redo the master plans for the airport for the next 10 years. It is a living document; it’s not going to be a permanent thing.”
Chidoka also said that the master plan is a snap shot in time because of the technologies available today, he said that with the knowledge available today, a master plan can be created .
“We can create a master plan, but if after 20 years we are still forcing everybody without updating it, then, we are creating a problem. It’s like taking a photograph of you of 20 years ago and bringing it out now and asking you why you changed.”
“In today’s Nigeria, we do not have a master plan for our airports. It’s not about a roadmap. A master plan is the one that involves all stakeholders, operators, the airline and every other person; they come together to produce a document that serves the industry.”
Chidoka also spoke of the need for the country to have a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility in the country if the sector is to grow but said such endeavours are private sector driven.
His words,” This is a critical mission institution for aviation industry and we would continue to facilitate the emergence of an MRO because it is to be done by the private sector, it is for their own airlines and government will not build an MRO, but we believe that with the capacity that we are generating with these airlines coming on stream, the market will become more and more lucrative for those who want to invest their money with the private jets and all that into a MRO.”
“The Akwa Ibom State government is very interested; it has set aside a lot of money building capacity. Let’s see how we can collaborate with them to see that an MRO emerges in Nigeria I believe that when the demand rises, somebody will block that gap because capitalists will always know where money would be made and the MRO is not a free gift. It is money to be made, maybe they are waiting for our airlines to get to a certain stage before people will begin to put serious money down for MRO. That’s my layman view about MRO and of why it has not happened.