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FG transforms MAKIA to world class terminal


ANTHONY OMOH in this reports looks at the massive and rapid changes that the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) has undergone since the remodelling of 11 airports commenced and agrees that indeed there is a transformation ongoing at the nation’s gateways and it is a trend that if continued will remove the country’s aviation sub-sector from the infrastructure void it was in.

In a write-up published August 20, 2010 titled:  ‘MAKIA: A relic in need of rehabilitation’ I had decried the state of decay of the over 50 year-old Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport terminal stating that it was, no doubt,  among one of worst airports in Nigeria.
This was largely due to abandonment and alleged scarcity to funds coupled with mismanagement and long lack of maintenance.
Minister after Minister had come and gone seeing the dismal state of this iconic airport without doing anything worse still some have even put the airport on the plan for rehabilitation but in truth, nothing had been done keeping the airport perpetually under-developed and making airlines that used to fly there stop operations.
Lots of airlines, foreign and domestic, stopped using that airport due to its demise in economic activities and  deteriorating state of facilities for operations and activities there have become a shadow of its past.
One of the few remaining international airlines that used to dare the Kano airport was KLM which flew there from Amsterdam, however because of the state of the airport has said would cancel its Amsterdam-Abuja-Kano-Amsterdam flights from June1.
Currently the bulk of international flights from that airport cater for the large Lebanese community in Kano and Muslim pilgrimages to Mecca with flight operations by Middle East Airlines Beirut, Saudi Arabian Airlines which operates MAKIA and Jeddah, Sudan Airways which operates the Kano- Khartoum- Ndjamena route; Kabo Air Cairo which operates to Dubai and Jeddah and EgyptAir which flies Kano- Cairo.
Now, with the massive remodelling, restructuring and reconstruction of 11 airports in the country today by the Minister, Princess Stella Oduah,  one can say a great chunk of that airport’ s problem has been solved and negotiations can begin to lure airlines back to Kano.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, recently while commenting on the airport promised to do everything possible to attract more international airlines to MAKIA.
He also promised to persuade the management of KLM (Dutch Airlines) to rescind its decision to withdraw its flight operations from the airport which it said it is planning to do in 2012.
He said the government would try its best to turn the aviation sector, and argued that the interest the ministry of aviation has shown in transforming some infrastructure shows that the ministry has recognised the critical role the sector could play in the nation’s economy.
The Kano airport which was once a total wreck has been transformed entirely into an ultra-modern superstructure that will rival any terminal anywhere in the world and the job is not even completed yet, according to Oduah who says that what people are seeing is a tip of the iceberg.
She also challenged the media and other stakeholders to take a critical look at what is being done and contribute their quota instead of criticising from the sidelines while protecting vested interests.
“Look at what is been done here and tell me, is it the patch job as is being reported and talked about in the media? I believe that anyone who loves this country after seeing the mess that was should applaud us for being able to do this and not just criticise,” she charged.
According to her the remodelling of the airport’s is not about her as minister but to show Nigerians that things that are being done outside the country can be replicated in the country.
She said it was all about government’s determination to do things that will impact in the sector and for the people especially those in the fourth realm to do the appraisal.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Ms Ann Ita-Ene who spoke on the state of the airport at present said that it was nothing short of political will and commitment to put the massive structure in place given where the airport was coming from.
Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, when asked on the terminal said that the size was colossal and would have capacity he also said,” Money can change things if it is well spent”.
It would be recalled that after the spate of crashes President Olusegun Obasanjo approved N19.5billion intervention fund which at that time could have started something positive at some of the nation’s airport but due to selfishness and mismanagement that money was squandered.
The new Kano terminal boasts of very spacious arrival and departure lounges, meeters and greeters, very beautiful protocol lounges and is still undergoing massive expansion.
What used to be
Although passenger traffic has been on the decrease for years at the airport, the tightness of MAKIA make it seem as though there is capacity crunch and like every other airport in the country, MAKIA also suffers from regular power outages for hours especially when there is no diesel to operate the generators.
For an airport that is supposed to the prime airport in the country, the neglect it suffers cannot go unnoticed by its users, so why is the Federal Government through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) turning a blind eye to this airport that could play a major role in the re-branding of the nation’s image.
Airlines then like Nigeria Airways, KLM, British Airways, Middle East, Egypt Air, Saudi, Kabo and other domestic airlines flooded Kano Airport with about 20 average daily flights. Today, the same airport handles less than 20 flights a week.
At a point people were beginning to wonder if they should attribute the phenomenon to economic viability of Abuja and Lagos or share coincidence that 90 per cent of the airlines in this country are based in Lagos.
The only response that was logical was that the facilities and infrastructure at that airport were decayed and the working ones, obsolete. It does not give airlines the encouragement to fly there.


What is now
According to the regional manager of North, Ali Nock, the gigantic and fantastic structure that has sprung from the ashes of the old terminal like a phoenix is something that needs to be applauded, as it has shown that with the right people in place things will move normally.
He also reiterated the fact that a lot of ministers have passed through the terminal with a lot of promises but lacked the political will to follow through.
On power generation, he said it has increased at the terminal and what used to be is no more.
The MAKIA has gone from the relic it was described as in 2010 to a terminal that currently dwarfs so many others and even airport users are commending the effort of federal government.
“The Minister will get a title here in Kano for this magnificent job, because this is simply good there were times we were travelling you will see metal buckets in the terminal building any time it rains so that they can bail the water coming in, the toilet was a cesspool and air travellers could not even use it but look at the state of the art terminal and toilets.”
There was even the conveyor belt that would take almost a year to send out baggage, it has been replaced and a new one put in its place.
As of today, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has seen expansion that has almost tripled its size and increases its capacity. There was a massive expansion in the length and width of the airport providing segments that were not there hitherto.
Apart from the expansion, MAKIA Arrival and Departure points have taken the most incredible facelift, with the bricks that made up the terminal broken down and replaced by steel and glass which also contributes to the aesthetics of the over 50 years old terminal.
The Cargo area of the airport has also been reconstructed and will be fitted with top class security apparatus once it is done.
According to the Regional Manager, work is almost complete and when done, a brand new terminal would have emerged from the old.
Also a brand new multi-million Hajj terminal 2 at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has been constructed and commissioned by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, who also commended the minister for being patriotic enough to want to leave her mark in the sands of time.
The new MAKIA is a masterpiece and it is not even complete yet, according to one passenger who spoke with our correspondent.

About anthony omoh

Profile photo of anthony omoh
I am a Journalist with a passion for developmental stories and nigerianflightdeck.com was born out of passion for reporting the travel, business and aviation sub-sector. This site is an expression of my ideals and creativity as a reporter and my discretion as a publisher. I am extremely content doing this and I am sure when you read my stories you'd understand that I touch people and that's why

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