No fewer than 15 states have spent N301 billion on airports that failed to meet the yearly passenger traffic requirement per airport. The airports, which are spread across the country, are underutilized as many hardly record daily flights while others only have a few chartered flights sometimes.
Nigeria currently has 31 airports, with many operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA. Of this number, about 15 were built by state governments since 1999.
They include Asaba Airport, Mohammed Buhari Airport, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom Airport, Uyo, Bayelsa International Airport, Ogun Cargo Airport, MKO Abiola International Airport, Osun, uncompleted, Ekiti Cargo Airport, Anambra Cargo Airport, Umuleri, Abia Airport, Wachakal Airport, Damaturu, and Dutse International Airport. Lafia Airport, uncompleted, Kebbi Airport, Auchi Airport, Edo State, uncompleted, Zamfara Airport, Nasarawa Airport and Gombe Airport.
Many first-generation airports built by the Federal Government during the military era,also have profitability questions.They include Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano, Kaduna, Benin, Owerri, Jos, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Yola, Bauchi, Akure, Ibadan, Ilorin, Calabar, Minna and Katsina airports.
Those built by the states, which were handed over to FAAN for management, it was learnt, only add financial burden to the agency given what aviation experts called unsustainability.
Recently, Director-General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, said the proliferation of state airports had placed a huge burden on the agency.
He said: “And these airports do not even generate money. Some airports have one or two flights a week. Some are even executive flights. Honestly, we must collectively find a way to deal with that because for me, even as NCAA, it is putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on us.”
The Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, lamented that most of the facilities constructed by state governments are not commercially viable.
He noted that the continuous building of airports by governors constitutes a complex problem for the agency, saying NCAA, FAAN and Ministry of Aviation need to sit and address the issue.
Yadudu said:”An airport that needs N300 million a month (to maintain) and they have just 1,000 passengers a month, there is no magic that can make them sustainable and FAAN doesn’t have the money. I think in the national interest, let’s come up with a plan; Federal Government support, intervention, and others to make sure that if you build it if it is not workable now, one day, it will be sustainable because gradually, it will happen.
“This is a very complex situation. It is not a straight forward situation because to us at FAAN, the easiest option is to tell them not to build more state-owned airports, but whatever we do at FAAN, we look at the short and the long terms.”
in the last 15 years, nearly N301 billion has been spent on airports aviation stakeholders described as unproductive across many states.