PEARL NGWAMA, examines the effect of the reforms introduced by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), at the nation’s airports, concluding that they have drastically reduced hiccups and improved services to customer satisfaction.
In order to achieve this, the agency has continued to make conscientious efforts to block loopholes in that hinder smooth and seamless crime-free operations. It had to put in place actions that would ward off compromises in all of the
Recently, there had been occasions of theft resulting in aircrafts being burgled while taxing to a halt or for take off. Also, incidences of untoward runway incursions, aircraft collisions and sundry infractions have been reported. And all these put paid to FAAN’s integrity.
In response to the aforementioned challenges, FAAN reinforced its security
architecture at its major airports. It set up parameters to halt breaches in security and safety, starting from evacuation of abandoned aircrafts at the airside, which is still on-going at the time of filing this report. Although this process had been completed at the
apex airport, Murtala Muhammed international Airport, (MMA), Lagos and the local wing of the airport, there were improvements regarding car park
automation, and plan to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) among other security measures which had advanced.
The most disturbing of all these have been cases of theft at the airside which have been attributed to insider threats by stakeholders in the industry. Also, issues of “poaching in aircraft baggage
compartment at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) are not new to older FAAN and other airport staffers.
What is probably new is the poaching of general aviation aircraft, which is gaining disturbing momentum.
In all these however, there have been accusations leveled against insiders which FAAN and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have been
investigating, aside from overall airports and airlines security.
similarly, NCAA is called upon to review aircraft operators as well as those of FAAN. It is the belief of stakeholders that “FAAN and NCAA should carry out a thorough background check on all
airport staff, especially those of them operating at the restricted/security controlled areas.
There is also the need to audit all airline operator staff members so as to determine those of them that have been
disengaged or retired, but still with On-Duty-Cards (ODC) or company
identity cards that still give them access into the airside and the security controlled areas”. Aviation expert and member of the Aviation Round
Table (ART), Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd) did not agree less.
In a move to forestall untoward activities, FAAN should immediately start profiling its workers especially those that provide essential services at the various terminals of the major airports in the country.
According to the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs.
Henrietta Yakubu, the measures already put in place are aimed at forestalling security breaches and incursions. The airport management also said it was determined to prevent further action that could compromise security,
including insider threats, as investigations have revealed that insider abuses have been majorly responsible for the bombing of aircrafts and terrorists access to some airports in different parts of the world recently.
Currently, all personnel who work at all the private jet terminals, construction workers and other staff members who are not substantive staff of
government agencies, airline and handling companies, should be subjected to strenuous profiling before they are allowed to access the airport restricted areas, especially the airside of the airports.
According to Yakubu, profiling is a continuous process carried out daily, adding that FAAN had long resumed a quarterly security screening of Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel and had
introduced a policy that prevents any staff from operating in one post for more
than three months.
Equally, part of measures to enhance security at the airports Yakubu told
our correspondent is the installation of CCTV at the strategic locations to monitor movement of people so as to forestall aircraft poaching and other incidences.
Going forward, FAAN last month commenced an evacuation of abandoned aircrafts at the MMA, Lagos.
Yakubu disclosed that “at least, 13 aircrafts belonging to different airlines had been abandoned for several years with their owners reluctant to relocate them despite warnings issued by the agency”.
She said the aircrafts constitute serious danger to the safety and smooth ground movements of planes.
inspite of the challenges, FAAN is committed to security and safety and has stepped up measures to
evacuate such aircrafts so as to rid the nation’s airports of abandoned aircrafts.
She said: “The airports belong to FAAN, which means that it is the property of the Federal Government and there is no airline that is bigger than Nigeria. Nigeria has given them notices to move their aircrafts but they refused to do so. FAAN is not taking possession of their aircrafts, but we are moving them away to avoid their remaining an eyesore and in order not to constitute nuisance to activities at our airside”.
Yakubu gave the names of some of the aircraft owners as Associated Air, IRS, Dana Air and Hak Air. Others belong to
the liquidated Air Nigeria, Associated Cargo, Bellview, JedAir, Precision Aviation Handling Company and PAC, TopBrass.
While upholding security and safety, FAAN is also mindful of revenue generation with the automation of its car parks. The car park at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the MMA cut down the level of rowdiness at the terminal and eased parking at the
According to Yakubu, “we decided to overhaul the entire system and make it more orderly because we were getting complaints from airport users.
According to her, since FAAN the automation, there has been sanity at the car park. Before now, there were queues. You can now come into GAT and find adequate parking spaces. It is safe and more convenient. On a daily basis, we record an average of 1,000 vehicles from the GAT alone. With this, we are able to keep records of vehicles that use the facility”.
“When you drive in, you are given a coin and the moment you pay the toll fare, you drop the coin and the exit opens automatically for you. So, there is no short-changing of either the driver or FAAN. The system has improved and has earned a lot of revenues for FAAN.
Again, the revenue generated by FAAN in one month of the automation of
the park, increased by 68 per cent at GAT when you compare it to what was earned in December, 2017, when we were still doing it manually”.