…Says Concession Of Airports To Begin Soon
..To Fix Lagos Airport After Completing Abuja Assignment
The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has stated categorically today that the vibration experienced by Royal Air Maroc at Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA) was not in any way a structural issue but was due to the unlatched doors where the chillers, which have just been put into use are housed.
The Minister’s clarification is coming on the heels of speculations in some quarters that the vibration was as a result of structural defect.
Sirika who flew into Lagos from Abuja specifically to see things himself and make clarification over allegations that there were massive vibrations that affected the structural integrity of the airport, described the rumours as not only erroneous but also misleading .
He explained that what brought about the vibration was that the doors were not well-latched and that the vibrations happening were directly under the office Royal Air Maroc office in the terminal , adding that this led to the wrong assumption that something was wrong.
According to him, “Well first and foremost it is wrong and erroneous that the structure of the Murtala Muhammed Airport is failing and there was earthquake as reported by some sections of the media, it is not so what happened is that there was vibrations at the air handling room of the cooling system, this door is a huge metal door that needs to be locked properly.It was locked but it wasn’t latched properly, the latches were not in place and that gave rise to the vibration because there are moving parts, there are motors and fans and other things that are activated and they function to create the necessary cooling system.”
He continued, “That door responded to the vibration and because it wasn’t latched, it was vibrating and that vibration was directly under the counter of Royal Air Maroc and they assumed the structure was vibrating to the point of collapse.”
The Minister stated that immediately Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) engineers were alerted , they discovered that it was the door, adding that they promptly latched the door and that the vibration has since stopped.
“Once our men were alerted, they went promptly, identified the problem which was the door, and latched the door and since then there has been quiet, so it’s not true” The Minister said
He further disclosed that the engineering department was working on the chillers too adding that and that very soon the international terminal of the Lagos Airport will be chilled for the comfort of the passengers.
In his words, “We are working on those chillers and in no distant time the airport will be quite chilled and comfortable for our passengers.”
Speaking on the power outage also at the terminal, Sirika stated.“Indeed there was power outage at the airport however we have dedicated generators, to certain areas of the airport and those generators were working at the time we lost the power. The Airfield Lighting (AFL), taxiways were all working perfectly and most part of the operational aspects of the airport including the checking-in counter was working perfectly.”
“The terminal building where passengers found themselves were affected but the outage did not get to the critical safety operations of the airport and it took us a couple of minutes to identify the problem and we went for it; the generators that would power that unit had surges and destroyed part of the activation system of the generators and took time to restore but it has been restored now and since then everything is working normally. Things like these are unforeseen; power surges are things we cannot predict but we check that and prevent the surge from affecting us but it depends on the surge” he added.
On the way forward, the Aviation Minister stated that the Federal Government was working hard to provide other alternate sources of power supply that would make passengers not to be aware in the event of any power surge
“Going forward, government is working hard to provide other alternate sources that would be able in the future , even when there is surge not outages passengers will not notice and the airports will function normally” he said.
On Abuja Airport, he said that the work is over 80 per cent completed, adding that the airport will continue to function while the government rolls out other plans
He reiterated that there was no going back on the concessioning of airports, adding that is one of the ways to improve infrastructure and make Nigerian airports functional and compared to airports in other developed aviation climes.
Sirika stated that very soon the process toward concessioning these airports would commence, adding that since the Federal Government does not have the huge amount needed to turn around these airports, the best option is to concession them to those, who are experts in airport management.
He assured Nigerians that the All Progressive Congress (APC) led administration will not sell Nigerian assets, adding that with concession, the airports still belong to the people.
On what next after the completion of the runway at Abuja Airport, Sirika said the next line of action is to face Lagos airport squarely and resolve the issues therein.