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).
Nigeria Saves $500,000 From Calibration Aircraft – Minister
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that Nigeria will be saving a lot of money from the acquisition of a custom made calibration aircraft recently acquired by the Federal Government.
Sirika who disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents in Abuja, Tuesday, said the purpose of the aircraft was to calibrate navigational equipment and aid the country for the purpose of flight operations.
The aircraft which is worth about $8.5 million, according to the minister, will be commercialised to generate revenue, and keep the industry safe.
“We used to have one in Nigeria, but for the last two decades, we never had any. What propelled us to procure this aircraft was that while we were reconstructing the Abuja runway, we needed to recalibrate all those landing aids. That is the standard requirement and this is to ensure they are working in perfect order.
“The last time Nigeria had such aircraft was 20 years ago under cover aviation flying unit. We did not have the capacity as a country, the only people close to us that had is ASECNA which is owned by French speaking countries, but the aircraft is domiciled in Niger.
“We approached them but they did not have a slot for us. If I hadn’t got the support of far away South Africa, we would not beat the six weeks deadline.
“Nigeria will be saving a lot of money by procuring this aircraft. I know I paid about $500,000 when our equipment was due to South African contractor to carry out the task.
“ If you say every six months, we will do this, and that would be half a million dollars every six months. So when we do it sixteen times, the value of the aircraft would have been paid. Not only that, we will commercialise it to generate revenue and keep our industry safe “, Sirika said.
The minister, however, explained that it took about nine months from when the request was made to the completion and installation of the equipment.
The Tide reports that the aircraft was built in Textron Aviation Services, Kansas in the United States, and it is expected to improve safety in the aviation industry.
PH Airport Manager Seeks Safety Awareness, Education At Airports
The Safety Manager, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Mr Oguche Samuel, has harped on the need for continuous awareness and education on safety at the nation’s airports.
He said the continuous safety education would create awareness to staff and stakeholders at the airports on their safety responsibilities.
Samuel disclosed this while addressing participants at the safety promotion day at the airport which focused on Foreign Object Deris (FOD),
He urged participants and staff to be good safety ambassadors in their day to day activities, stressing that safety is one of the core values of FAAN.
Meanwhile, the management of the Port Harcourt International Airport has keyed into the Airport Emergency Plan programme as plans are in full gear towards the certification of the airport.
The Tide reliably learnt that the management of the airport recently took steps in training staff in relevant departments on emergency plan.
Instructors from Accra in Ghana, it was gathered, were invited to train some of the staff of the airport in the later part of last year.
The training was aimed at developing staff capacity to effectively and efficiently handle emergency response with the certification of the airport.
FAAN Moves To Check Security Threats At Airside
Following reported cases of intrusion into airside at the nation’s airports, particularly at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at nights, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has taken steps to install thermal and infrared cameras for airside monitoring and patrol.
The introduction of thermal and infrared cameras is meant to monitor and expose happenings or any intruder who manages to gain access to airports, especially at nights.
FAAN, in a press statement on Tuesday, said it took the steps because anything that happens at the airside, has a ripple effect on the aviation industry.
“We are mostly particular about the airside because at the end of the day, security and safety are paramount and anything that happens at the airside has a ripple effect and we are here to ensure that our airports are safe.
FAAN posited that it is a dangerous practice to go and open aircraft cargo door because of the engine blast which might occur on the process.
“The proximity switch and the plunder could vibrate when the engine level is moved above idle running; for some seconds, the light may flash and warning light will remain off. It is even an easy thing to open the cargo door while the engine is running.
“Rotation of the handle activates a torque tube to withdraw the latch rollers from the latch fitting and as the door swings on board under tension of the door balance mechanism, the door warning proximity switch is activated to energize the appropriate door warning in the control cabin to alert the Crewe”, FAAN stated.
Enumerating other efforts being made to tackle the problem, FAAN explained that the Authority has put patrol vans fitted with cameras on the dashboard to capture the environment during patrol, saying although this might be a temporary measure.
Our correspondent reports that there were reports of incidents of intruders allegedly opening the cargo compartment of aircraft either taxing or holding on the runway, particularly at the Lagos airport, which had become a cause of concern to FAAN management.
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