Regional Operation: Bi-Courtney Decries Delay In Commencement Of Flights At MMA2
The Chief Executive Officer, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Mr. Christophe Penninck, has expressed concern over the delay in securing regulatory approval for the commencement of international operations at the terminal.
Penninck, in his address at the annual customers and stakeholders’ appreciation dinner of BASL, last Friday, said it was saddening that some stakeholders in the aviation industry have been actively working against MMA2’s bid to secure the needed approval, despite the huge investment the operator of the Nigeria’s number one airport terminal has committed to the project.
Penninck, who could not hide his feelings, further said, “It pains me to say thank you to such stakeholders for having us blocked us from populating the international flights schedule. We have invested so much in infrastructure and other developments. Unfortunately, right now, we have been unable to continue with further development. Although we collaborate with the authorities, it would be nice for us to be able to develop even more. This venue is supposed to be the international boarding gate for MMA2. If we have the opportunity to operate international flights, it will not only benefit us, it will also benefit the airlines operating here.”
He continued, “I know for a fact that Aero, Dana and Med-View airlines operate international flights to Accra. It will make operational sense to combine that arrangement with their respective domestic operations. There is a competitive advantage in operating from the same terminal where they have their local flights operations. Hopefully, in the nearest future, we will be able to do that. I think if Nigeria really wants to develop, they have to think about the common interest. The common interest now is for Nigerian travellers to experience better services and a better connection point. Most airlines all over the world have hubs. Unfortunately the hub here is not very practical.”
He stated that the operator of MMA2 was more than prepared to keep improving the facilities to be more than just a terminal, to ensure products and services’ visibility to customers on its website and social media platforms.
“We have been collaborating with the customers and helping them promote their services on the website and social media platforms, but I think the overall goal is to deliver customer-oriented services,” he noted.
The BASL boss also lamented the adverse impact of the prevailing exchange rate on the company’s constant desire to innovate its operations and grow infrastructure in the terminal.
According to him, the present economic situation has almost doubled the earlier investment projection on improving the cooling system and providing better CCTV coverage of the whole terminal, in consonance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) requirement.
In his words, “One of the big issues we have at the moment is the cooling of the terminal. Unfortunately, the current economic situation, particularly in relation to the exchange rate, is not helping matters. We have been investing heavily in the CCTV project and our next big project is the cooling of the terminal. Sadly we cannot predict the exchange rate and the economic situation, but we are committed to improving the cooling system.”
Also corroborating the earlier submission by the keynote speaker at the event and Executive Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison, to the effect that “aviation is a development route for a nation”, Penninck maintained that transport in general is very key, because without it, there cannot be meaningful development.
“Dubai and Singapore are two key examples. These small nations have made it – thanks to transport; thanks to connectivity. If we want the nation to develop; if we want to make things change, we must be serious about encouraging genuine businesses to grow,” he added.
He expressed the company’s gratitude to all partners, tenants, airlines and other stakeholders, and charged them to always come up with valuable suggestions and advice on how best to improve on services and make way for better and rewarding collaborations.