Attempts to link the re-modelling of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano to alleged low-passenger traffic at the airport, has been dismissed by the federal government, saying the present security situation in the city was responsible.
A newspaper report had alleged that since the remodelling of the airport, the facility had been lying dormant.
But reacting to the report, General manager, Corporate Communications of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said the transformation of the airport ought to open it to floodgate of patronage and not otherwise.
According to him, the low level passengers’ traffic into the airport can be traced easily to the security situation in Kano, fuelled by the activities of the fundamentalist Islamic group, Boko Haram.
“We wish to state that Kano has been and will continue to be one of the major airports in Nigeria and it is because of the importance attached to the airport that FAAN embarked on rebuilding the domestic terminal which was commissioned in early 2011.
“The under-utilisation of the airport could be traced to the security situation in Kano and we believe that the state government is working effectively with the Federal Government to eliminate insurgents in the north, he said.
He was quoted as saying that the report cited other airports such as the ones in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Enugu as airports that are active and supposedly with completed remodelled airport terminal facilities. The newspaper exposed crass ignorance in the report because there is no international terminal at Enugu airport.
“We also wish to say that in terms of facilities, the Kano airport is ahead of others in this country; that Port Harcourt terminal project is yet to be completed and that for now, the remodelled terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, is designated for domestic operations but both international and domestic services are still emanating from the facility until the international terminal is built.
“The problem of Kano airport is the issue of security in Kano. If this newspaper is actually the voice of the north, it should almost on daily basis write editorials on how to restore Kano to its glorious past. It is when this is done that the airport would begin to witness increased passenger movements that will boost the utilisation of the airport.
“We also wish to say that although the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos provides over 80 per cent of FAAN’s revenue; yet the Kano domestic and international airport terminals were completed before that of Lagos. In fact, work is still going on at the international terminal of the Lagos airport and it is hoped it will be commissioned later this year.