AHEAD of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondent’s ( LAAC) 26th Conference tagged Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety implication, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria( FAAN) ,Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu has explained that the airport managers can have airports running 24/7 but queried who bears the cost as airlines who request usually end up jumping ship when they realise the task.
Yadudu who visited the office of LAAC to commiserate with the league over the incident of the thunderstorm removing its office roof used the opportunity to talk on sundry issues one of which is the theme of this year’s conference.
The FAAN helmsman clarified that contrary to popular opinion that the agency is not against sunset landings as it is a service delivery agency but stressed that someone needs to pay for those services as there are a lot happening beyond calling for FAAN to mobilize.
“FAAN wants all airports to operate 24/7 because it is a business for FAAN. We earn our revenue from those operations; we are a service delivery agency, but the challenge is will the 24/7 pay for itself? Somebody has to pay for the 24/7 operations. Will the business pay for itself? If we open an airport with just only three landings, FAAN will close down. No organization in the world will do that. Even, if you go to Europe, you will find out that many airports are sunrise to sunset. You can operate an airport even for sunrise to midday so that everybody that knows should go around that window.
” FAAN cannot operate an airport that we cannot break even, because we are already challenged. We want 24/7 days airport, but we need to know if the business will be sustainable. At first, some of the businesses may look as if they are sustainable even for the next two years. So, somebody must be ready to have the business model to sustain 24/7 operations. I cannot commit to 24/7 operations when you are not coming.
“One airline came to us that they wanted to operate 24/7 operations to Yola and wanted FAAN to extend the time for them, but I told them that we will need a lot of money to so that. An airline may decide to open a route today and dispatch just one aircraft, but for FAAN, NAMA and co will have to mobilise personnel, ensure efficiency and fix facilities that can be move in and out. Sometimes, fuelers and handlers will be needed. We don’t want a situation whereby an airline will start a route now and in the next few months, it will stop such route due to lack of passengers. Then, who will pay for all we have gone through?
“FAAN is a business; we pay our salaries, wages and we have to be sure that we will break even when we do that. Who will nurture the airports for sustainability they can be sustained, but who will pay for those periods?