Project Manager, Asaba Airport, Chief Austin Ayemidejor, says the state government’s plan to concession the airport will create more jobs and not lead to job loss.
The project manager stated this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Asaba.
Our correspondent recalls that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had at various fora announced that the airport would be privatised or commercialised to enable the private sector to drive the project and make it more profitable.
Ayemidejor, noted that government really had no business running a business but its focus should be to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said that the concession would expand the activities in the airport and attract more investments such as hospitality industry and its subsidiaries, like the airport cab operators.
The project manager noted that the airport currently had about 100 staff, adding that the workers were well trained for the job they do at the airport.
He said that most of the departments were specialised departments such that the concessioner must work with them.
“The concession of the airport will create more jobs and not in any way lead to job loss because it is structured in a manner that it will not in any way affect the current numerical strength of staff.
“I don’t also have the feelings that any concessioner will just come and lay off the entire staff of Asaba airport because they need them; aviation needs a lot of training and retraining.
“For instance, you cannot just lay-off the fire fighters, aviation security personnel.
“The second thing is that there are departments that you must mandatorily work with. The Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Metrological staff and others,” Ayemidejor said.
He said that work on the airport perimeter fencing had reached 80 per cent completion and that the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport would become fully operational in few weeks.
Ayemidejor said that in preparation for the Yuletide, Nigeria’s premier carrier, Air Peace Airline would deploy boeing 737 and other aircrafts to take the pressure of passengers during the period.
According to him the construction work at the airport started in 2008 while flight operations commenced in July 2011.
“This airport apart from the 100 workers it directly employs has created lots of indirect employment and since then it has made life easier as people take flights out and into Asaba.
“This has also attracted a lot of investment.
Within the airport area we have a lot of cab operators, business centres springing up which are directly and indirectly creating jobs and impacting on economic activities of Asaba.
“This Yuletide, we have discussed with Air Peace to deploy Boeing 737 and other aircraft to take passengers from Lagos and Abuja to Asaba.
“Besides, the Aero Contractor, and Overland are on and we are talking with Arik to commence operations,” he said.
The project manager who reacted to some issues arising from the cab operators association at the airport, said that he was not aware of any fresh squabble among them.
He said though there had been some misunderstanding among the cab operators, the situation had been taken care off.
Mr Mejeli Chukwuemeka, Secretary, Asaba Airport Cab and Haulage Services, an affiliate of Airport Car Hire Services of Nigeria (ACHAN) confirmed that since the upgrade of the airport flight operations have reasonably improved.
He, however, appealed to the airport management to streamline the cab operations by bringing all operators under one union to avoid the rowdy session which preceded any arrival of flight, as members scrabble for passengers.
“Like it is done in other airports, all cab operators register and belong to one association and they take their turns whenever flight arrives, but the case is different here.
“We are also appealing to management to build a make-shift structure, a resting place for the cab operators to avoid loitering around the airport premises while waiting for flight arrivals,” chukwuemeka said.(NAN).
PH Airport: FEC Approves N2.97bn For Perimeter Road
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N2.97 billion for fencing and perimeter road for the Port- Harcourt International Airport.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“The second memorandum is for the fencing and perimeter road for the Port Harcourt International Airport.
“This project was abandoned since 2011, and of course, in response to the philosophy of President Muhammadu Buhari to complete all abandoned projects and ongoing projects, this safety, security critical item felt in our wisdom, that it needs to be completed.
“Variation was brought to council; it has been approved earlier; the variation is in the sum of N271.8 million; this of course jacked up the contract sum to N2.97 billion and the new completion period of six months.
“The perimeter fence is understood I hope; and the then road is the road that goes around the perimeter to allow for surveillance.
“It will allow for monitoring of the fence integrity and also for additional security; to be able to go round the circumference of the airport for improved security and safety operations.’’
Sirika had earlier said that the council made an approval of N574.3 million for insurance and special risk for the assets in Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.
He said it included the personnel that would be operating the machines.
“This includes of course VAT of five per cent to cover from June 10, 2019 to 2022.
“Yearly payments will be made in accordance with the extant laws and regulations,’’ he said
The minister, while responding to questions, made clarifications on the status of Arik air with regards to intended national carrier.
He said that there was need to understand the standpoint of the Ministry of Aviation on the issue.
Sirika said that the carrier that he intended to bring was such a carrier that would support national economy with 450 million dollar GDP for 200million people, very equipped to compete favourably.
According to him, 80 per cent of international airlines that have dominated Africa are non-African.
“In view of the AU Agenda 2063, the Single African Aviation Market, we thought that there will be an airline that will take up that challenge; that will take advantage of it and be able to provide services to our people.
“Nigeria, being the first country to kick-start the declaration in 1999, to establish a one common market in Africa; at the time, we wanted to take advantage of the Nigeria Airways which was the strongest airline on the continent, and we thought that we could take advantage of that and it would pay Nigeria very well.
“ Tables turned, decisions were reversed and now, Nigeria was unlucky to have an airline that can participate in that manner.
“So, the answer to your question is that Arik, as presently constituted, is not in line with the thinking of the ministry.
“ It will not be able to give us that airline that we need; however, Arik as an entity, since it is private-sector driven, can either buy shares in the new ventures or invest in any manner in the business as presently approved, ‘’ he said.
The minister said that he was not implying that other airlines would go down when a national carrier came on board as it was the ministry’s duty to support business in the sector.
Air Peace Begins Flight Operations To Makurdi, Soon
The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema has said the airline would begin flight operations to Makurdi, Benue State capital before the end of November.
Onyema made this known in Lagos, yesterday.
The chairman said: “our flights to Benue will begin before the end of November because we have almost finalised preparations.
“We are only waiting to receive another Embraer 145 Jet which we are using for such operations.’’
Air Peace had, on June 28, 2018, signed an agreement with the Benue State Government to operate flights to Makurdi.
The Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olajide, had said that the airline would deliver exceptional flight experience to residents of Benue and others travelling on the Makurdi route.
Olajide said the route would be serviced by an Embraer 145 jet, under Air Peace Hopper, the airline’s subsidiary and would terminate at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Makurdi.
According to her, the operations will cover Abuja-Makurdi-Abuja and Lagos-Makurdi-Lagos.
The Chief of Staff to Benue State Governor, Mr Terwase Obunde, had assured the airline of the government’s support to ensure its success on the route.
NAF To Conduct Stimulation Exercise At Aminu Kano Int’l Airport
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Special Forces (The Panthers) says it will conduct a simulation exercise on counter-terrorism, at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, had announced in a statement yesterday in Abuja, that the exercise is nicknamed “ EXERCISE STEEL DOME II”
“ This is to inform the general public, especially air travellers, that the Nigerian Air Force Special Forces (The Panthers) will conduct a simulation exercise on counter-terrorism, nicknamed EXERCISE STEEL DOME 2, at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano on Thursday, October .31 (yesterday).
“ This is part of efforts at securing the nation’s airports and other critical national assets against acts of terrorism.
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