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N133bn hangars to give way for MMIA apron expansion

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has given a two-week deadline for the demolition of obstructions hindering the expansion of the new Murtala Muhammed…

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has given a two-week deadline for the demolition of obstructions hindering the expansion of the new Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) apron in Lagos.

The federal government had brought down an entire building occupied by the then Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) worth over N5bn to expand the apron but it is having issues with two private hangars – EAN and Dominion – also marked for demolition.

Both hangars are worth over $300m in investment.

He also disclosed plans to construct a monorail linking the domestic to the international terminal.

Daily Trust reports that one year after the new terminal of the MMIA was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, it is still highly underutilised as only a few airlines have relocated to the new ultramodern terminal.

Despite the massive aesthetics and improved passenger facilitation and experience offered by the terminal, it has a small apron, an aircraft parking area, that could accommodate wide-bodied planes deployed by airlines.

Out of about all foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, less than 10 have relocated to the new terminal, Daily Trust can report.

Speaking in Lagos at the weekend during the commissioning of some fire-fighting equipment, the minister dismissed criticisms trailing the planned demolition of some structures in the Lagos Airport.

He insisted the planned demolition including the Lagos office complex of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is in the public interest.

The unions in the aviation sector had earlier rejected the proposed demolition, saying the agencies lack befitting offices in Abuja.

The minister who faulted the criticisms trailing his actions reiterated that the obstructions in MMIA have been responsible for the underutilisation of the new terminal.

“We are not operating Lagos airport at full capacity. We have some obstructions that will be removed within the next one or two weeks to expand the apron so that Lagos will have full use 100%.

“Those two hangars I talked about, Dominion and Evergreen, will have to go and give way for our airport to be more efficient. It is a $300 million investment over there and they can’t sit there in the public interest.

“We have to shift them…You can’t deny Lagos and the country in general from using the airports.

“We are going to demolish Dominion Hangar and Evergreen Apple Nigeria hangar to make way for the new apron and that would be in a few weeks. Demolition of Dominion and Evergreen Apple is a must,” he said.

The minister disclosed that a contract for the construction of a monorail from the domestic to the international terminal would be signed shortly and that any obstruction standing in the way would be removed.

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