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Expert lists ways for improving Nigeria’s airports

Phillips, who is also the Executive Chairman of Peacock Travel & Tours Limited, spoke shortly after he arrived from Europe where he participated in a…

Phillips, who is also the Executive Chairman of Peacock Travel & Tours Limited, spoke shortly after he arrived from Europe where he participated in a facility tour of the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, sponsored by Air France and KLM.

According to him, the federal government should not see airports as completed projects but ongoing projects that required regular upgrading and expansion from time to time.  

Therefore, he said, “government should continually fund construction while maintenance should be left for FAAN,” saying, “the brand new S3 was funded by the government while S4 would commence operations in 2012 in Charles de Gaulle.”

As a second step, he said government must work towards providing international standard facilities at the nation’s airports, stressing that adequate facilities at the airports would not only attract investors and businessmen but tourists as well.

Phillips expressed dismay that the Murtala Mohammed International Airport still has only two runways while Schiphol, after which the MMA was modelled, was already developing its 7th runway.

He stated, “I believe proper equipping of our airports will attract investors, tourists and in the long run enhance the economic wellbeing and prosperity of our nation.”    

Phillips described as particularly disturbing the absence of a national carrier for the nation, saying it was robbing Nigeria the opportunity of being a hub.

He insisted that regular airport development and equipping must be complemented by well-trained and friendly airport staff, and high level safety assurance comfort.

His words: “Cordial and pleasant attendance to passengers must be made a priority. Regular training of staff should therefore remained imperative. Nigerian Airports must be user friendly starting from the entrance to the boarding points as it is the case at Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol.”

Phillips said instead of sitting airports in already busy areas government could as well reclaim lands either from water-logged areas or arid regions as were the cases in Amsterdam and Dubai respectively.

“In Lagos for instance, I suggest that the government should enlist the services of the Dutch Government which successfully built the Schiphol Airport on a once dangerous lake he said.”