FAAN: Reaping The Gains Of Executive Order
On May 18, 2017, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo while exercising presidential authority signed three executive orders. The three executive orders signed by the Acting President are: the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment, set to facilitate ease of doing business in Nigeria, support for local content in public procurement by the government and timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory and non-statutory agencies.
Airports’ businesses, which fall majorly on the aspect of promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment, are aimed at facilitating ease of doing business in the country.
The management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), as the leading agency managing the over 22 airports across the country knows this and since then, Nigerian airports have experienced drastic transformations, particularly, the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA), Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) Kano amongst others.
Although, FAAN has been making sure that they provide to passengers, who use these airports seamless travel experience but with the issuance of Executive Order, the agency seems to have extended a firmer commitment to all the airports in the country.
Murtala Muhammed Int’l Airport, Lagos
For instance, the MMIA has been fully transformed to the admiration of both local and international travellers. The airport is fast becoming the pride of most African travelers, who are either going out or coming into the country. Since the security agencies at the checking points have been streamlined, both arriving and departing air passengers experience stress free movement while all the scanners, conveyor belts are functionally adequately.
The security agencies at the few screening points aware of the need for ease of doing business are always at alert to facilitate free and safe movements of passengers both day and night. While the toilets at E wing and other areas have been refurbished, check in hall at the airport are now livelier with Flight Information Display Boards(FIDB) positioned at strategic locations. Airport security and other logistics have also been upgraded and strengthened to provide for seamless services for both local and international travelers. New directional display units have been provided to guide travellers, especially new ones, at the airports. Airport dos and don’ts banners have also been displayed at strategic locations to educate those using the airport for the first time. The leaking Roof of ‘D Wing’ has since been fixed while continuous upgrade of facilities are still ongoing.
At Lagos airport all these facilities are complimented with a multi-storey car park building located closely to the airport terminal for ease of access.
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja
In NAIA, Abuja, FAAN seems to replicate the giant strides achieved at MMIA. With minimal time needed to move from the terminal’s main entrance to departure terminal, passengers’ movement have been made easier. In the past few months, NAIA have been wearing a new look with all the facilities functioning at optimal level. Entering the departure hall of the airport, one is greeted with Flight Information Display Board which is conspicuously positioned for all passengers to see from any angle. The agency has also furnished and renovated the D Wing of the airport to international standard while all the toilet facilities in other areas are now working efficiently 24 hour per day. For easy access coming in and going out, the agency recently made a slight change in its domestic operations while it also alerted all air passengers, airport users, stakeholders and the general public of the new development.
Apart from flight information board, there are also directional signages to properly guide passengers on where to check-in, board or purchase flight tickets.
According to FAAN management, Arik Air now operates at terminal B, along with Azman, First Nation, Overland and Medview while Aero Contractors, Air Peace & Dana Air operate at terminal D of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja with effect from Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
Apart from MMIA and NAIA, there are a wide array of works going on at MAKIA, Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Kaduna International Airport (KIA) Kaduna, Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA), Enugu amongst others.
In terms of security which is paramount in airport business, FAAN had informed airport users that the agency would not compromise safety in its quest to implement the Executive Order.
Speaking o seriousness FAAN attach to security, Acting General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu made it clear that in as much as the agency was ready to comply with the order, FAAN cannot compromise safety in any aspects of its operations. To buttress her point Yakubu explained that the agency cannot completely eradicate manual checks during arrivals and departure.
She emphasised however that such checks could be done when a security agent wants to confirm his or her suspicion.
According to her, “FAAN cannot compromise security. So we are working with the security agencies, airlines and others. When there is a need to search baggage manually, we do so but that takes place at the baggage hall, not within the purview of where the passengers are.”
To ensure that Aviation Security (AVSEC) maintains high standard of aviation security screening across the nation’s airports, FAAN had few months ago facilitated the training of about 35 AVSEC personnel, who underwent counter terrorism training organised by the United Nations recently.
The 35 graduands, who are master trainers, are already being integrated into the system to train other AVSEC experts.
According to FAAN, the menace of touts at the airport has been tackled at the airport headlong, emphasisng that the airport is now free from touts.
To serve passengers, who don’t like going to the counters, the FAAN General Manager, said that the authority has also opened up passengers’ support services for such category of passengers at the airport.
“If you go to the airport now it is very sterile. We have been able to handle the issue of the touts. You know we are working with the police and we have told them that anybody that has no business in the airport should not get into the airport now. It is either you have a boarding pass or you have staff ID or a visitors’ card. If you don’t have any of these documents, you are not allowed into the airport”, she said.
On May 31, 2017, FAAN passed the mock test of aircraft emergency simulation exercise conducted at MMIA to test its readiness in times of emergencies and check its status in view of the upcoming certification of the airport. The Exercise which was adjudged as a very successful exposure drew stakeholders from relevant government agencies including: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Police Anti Bomb Squad, Lagos Statement Management Agency (LASEMA), Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Confirming the agency’s readiness for the certification of major airports in the nation by the NCAA, FAAN stated that the five major international airports namely: Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu, have been slated for certification in quick succession.
FAAN stated that pending gaps had been closed already and that safety had been its driving force all through the preparatory stage.
According to the agency, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport will be the first in line for certification, while Abuja will follow and the other three airports.
Expressing confidence that the airports will come out in flying colours despite the initial hiccups, the authority noted that the successful completion of this process would drastically reduce the high cost of insurance and also place the airport in good pedestal, while also ensuring effectiveness and efficiency.
In his views, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu, who toured the airport recently confirmed that NAIA was up to standard.
According to Aliu,“From the briefing we received, it is a work that was well done and timely too because it is important for safety operations. We also inspected other facilities. The work on the runway that was done- the markings and all that, are also part of the process to enable the aerodrome certification. On the certification of Abuja airport, we see that the agencies are working towards that. What is important at the end of the day is that that work is completed and the aerodromes are certified in accordance to ICAO standards”.
Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman in his assessment of the airports for certification said, “The certification process is in 5 stages and Lagos is presently at the fourth stage. The fifth stage is just the signing of the certificate. So, we can say it is almost at the point of certification. Abuja will be certified too, once Lagos is finished, we will concentrate more. Even though in Abuja, some of the things that we needed to put in place were taken care of during the closure of the Abuja airport. As I said, there are five stages: the pre-application stage, formal application stage, document and evaluation of document stage, operational demonstration stage. At this stage, all the document you put forward, the way you operate, we want to see. Whatever lessons we learn in the certification of Lagos will be applied in the certification of Abuja. And whatever we learn in the process of certifying Lagos and Abuja, will be applied towards certifying Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu airports. And subsequently, we intend to go beyond the international airports.”
To crown his efforts and as a way of showing appreciation for the airports’ transformations going on in the country, the Economic Community Of West African State (ECOWAS) Youth Council recently presented an “Award Of Distinguished African Personality Of The Year” to the Managing Director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma.
In the same vein, FAAN was given an award for ‘The Most Improved and Innovative Government Agency (Aviation Agency) In Nigeria’, 2017 by the Pan African International Recognition Award (PAIR). Apart from being elected as the President of Airport Council International (ACI-Africa) on October 18, 2016, FAAN under the watch of Engr. Dunoma has attracted accolades and confidence from both the public and the private sector.