As part of efforts to ensure that passengers fly out of the country through other international terminals, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has concluded plans to use the new international terminal in Port Harcourt Omegwa and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to decongest traffic at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The essence, FAAN stated was to ensure maximum use of the new terminals, adding that as result, two airlines Turkish will commence direct flight from PHIA to Turkey while Emirates will fly directly from Port Harcourt to Dubai in June
Air Peace, the agency also stated would also begin direct flight to Dubai from PHIA as from April this year.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, disclosed this in an interview with aviation correspondents at the weekend FAAN headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
She said that with the latest development passengers from the Eastern part of the country don’t have to travel to Lagos, as they can get flight in Port Harcourt
Yakubu explained that it was necessary to decongest traffic from Lagos to other airports within the country, but noted that Lagos would remain the hub of airports in Nigeria.
She explained that instead of airlines focusing their attention on Lagos Airport, they could also make use of the state-of-the-art facilities in other terminals in the country, adding that FAAN was determined to improve flying experience of air travellers within Nigeria.
Turkish Airlines, she stated would commence direct flight from its base to PHIA from June 25, while Emirates would increase its four weekly flights to daily to Dubai Airport from NAIA from June 1.
She hinted that Cronos Air operates three weekly frequencies from PHIA, while Lufthansa Airlines flies four times every week from the same airport.
Also, Air France operates five weekly flights stressing that the Turkish flights would be operated four times weekly beginning from June 25, 2019 from the same airport.
She stated that Air Peace would also commence direct flight operations to Accra from Abuja, while scheduled flights between Port Harcourt and Dubai operations of the airline would commence in April this year.
Air Cote d’Ivoire, she stated would commence direct flight from Abuja to its base in Abidjan soon.
According to her, “Turkish Air and Emirates would soon commence direct flight to their bases from the new Port Harcourt International Airport terminal. We want to appeal to members of the public that they don’t have to come from Port Harcourt or any part of the Eastern state to fly out of the country. They can easily go to Port Harcourt to fly. Also, as you know, Abuja Airport new terminal too has opened and Emirates would be starting from the terminal from June. We are expecting all the international airlines to start operating also from Abuja Airport.
She continued, “We want to encourage our passengers that they don’t all have to come to Lagos even though we know Lagos is the commercial nerve centre of the country and the airport is the hub, but passengers can travel from Abuja and Port Harcourt airports to connect to their destinations so that we can decongest Lagos airport. Turkish will soon commence a direct flight from Port Harcourt to Turkey, while Emirates will also do so to Dubai.”
The newly commissioned Abuja Airport has annual capacity of 15 million passengers, while Port Harcourt has capacity of five million passengers.
She further informed that Kano Airport with another five million annual capacity would come on stream in the next two months, adding that the new terminal at Lagos airport would also be commissioned “soon.”
On why Lagos Airport newly constructed terminal has not come on stream, Yakubu said, “Lagos airport did not take off early because of the issue of citing of the new terminal. Where we have it now, is not the original site, it has come up with a lot of issues; connectivity to the airside and the runway and others, but we are assuring our passengers that once Kano is commissioned, the next airport would be Lagos”.