At least 65 abandoned and disused aircraft are to be removed from the air side of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, Lagos, and seven other airports across the country, the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) has said.
”We have completed that of Lagos airport; we are still working at Benin, Kano, Port Harcourt and some other few airports. Once we are done with all the airports in the country, we shall let the public know. We cannot give a particular figure of the remaining aircraft in each airport, but we are almost done,” Yakubu Dati, the General Manager, Corporate Communications of FAAN said.
According to him, FAAN has already completed the operation in Lagos with most of the abandoned aircraft dismantled and sold as scraps to the public and others sold to individuals for business interests. Some of the abandoned aircraft have been at the airport environment for almost 10 years.
The abandoned aircrafts, including Fokker 28, Embraer 100 to Boeing 727 and 737, belong to Bellview Airlines, Space World, Capital Airlines, IRS Airlines, EAS Airlines, Dasab Airlines and Fresh Airlines.
He explained that the process of removing abandoned by domestic airlines was taking place in eight airports across the country but that N120 million was generated from the sale of the abandoned aircraft at the airport.
”FAAN has not come out to claim it has generated money from this evacuation; the alleged money said to have been generated was a rumour,” he said.
”None of them is serviceable because most of their owners have closed shop; unfortunately, such owners don’t want to evacuate them for reasons best known to them. Today, we have removed everything; our air side is free,” he added.
Dati also stated that the authority had begun the removal of some billboards placed by one of its concessionaires, Bi-Courtney, at the MMA.
His words: ”The removal of the billboards was on the heels of violation by the concessionaire not to place any billboard or advertisement on a property it no longer has control over. Such act of violation to place their advertisements on a property it no longer has legal status over, is enough demonstration that the firm is treading on the path of illegality,” Datti said.
He said that the government would soon consider how to convert the property into a value adding asset, rather than the current insecurity it posed around the airport.
He said that the failure of Bi-Courtney to complete a four-star hotel and a conference centre on the property had resulted to the site becoming a hideout for undesirable and unauthorised persons at the airport.