INVESTIGATIONS into the recent influx of cabs at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos has shown that the airport has been taken over by illegal limousine operators, who paint their vehicles in the airport colour of blue but are unregistered with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Nigerianflightdeck.com spoke to a source who spoke to our reporter said that these vehicles plying the airport road are owned and controlled by security personnel attached to the airport including the Nigeria Air force, Nigerian Police, Nigerian Customs Service and several others.
The source told our correspondent that the unregistered cabs fly several routes within and outside the airport, adding that all efforts to stop them had proved abortive as they are encouraged by the security agencies who beat up airport limousine task force and take them to cells anytime there is an attempt to stop the illegal operators.
He further informed our correspondent that the leadership of the limousine operators had written officially to FAAN to complain about the act, but was yet to receive any response from the airport landlord, warning that such operators stand as safety security risk to the industry especially in this era of security threat, which has taken over the entire country.
FAAN in the first quarter of every year, carries out vehicle inspection exercise to determine the number of cabs and buses that would be allowed to ply the airport road.
In the 2016 exercise, the agency approved 400 cabs and 250 buses to ply the Lagos Airport road.
During the exercise, applicants are made to pay a non-refundable fee of N10,000 each as application form while successful cab and vehicle owners register with N60, 000 per annum.
Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mechanical Department of FAAN, Aviation Security, Fire Service Department and FAAN’s unions all take part in the vehicle inspection exercise.
The source said: “The Lagos Airport is no longer safe for air travellers and other users of the airport because you cannot identify those who were successfully screened by FAAN and other illegal operators. Unlike in the past when some of the illegal operators used cabs that were not of airport in airport colour for their activities, they have gone a step higher by painting their cabs in airport colour of blue.
“Unfortunately for us too, FAAN has been looking at the other way. This simply shows that there is security lapses at the airport. Most of these illegal operators bring out their vehicles from 4pm and mostly to carry international air travellers. There are fears that some of these illegal operators may be used to perpetuate criminal activities against the sector and even the travellers as some of them in the past had robbed travellers of their possession.”