Dabiri-Erewa applauds diaspora’s contributions to the Nigerian economy as remittances increase - THE EAGLE
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has commended Nigerians in the Diaspora on the rise of remittances in the first quarter of the year, by 20.3 per cent, representing the seventh consecutive quarterly increase in diaspora remittances since last quarter in 2020.
In a statement by the Commission’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Dabiri-Erewa said that increase in remittances by Nigerians abroad which has played a significant role in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), has a great impact on socio-economic growth of the country.
She said, “As the world recovers from the global pandemic and confronts instability of many kinds, we want to honour the efforts of all those who continue to support their loved ones despite the challenging circumstances.”
According to the NIDCOM boss, the recent figures released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed an increase in remittances in quarter one of 2022 to $5.16 billion from $ 4.29 billion same period in 2021.
Also, the ‘Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’ created by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2021, attracted $2.4 billion in diaspora remittances within eight months, surpassing the figure reported in 2021.
She said “NiDCOM will continue to push for more engagement with our diaspora who are an indisputable economic factor and are becoming an investment factor in the country, noting that many Nigerians abroad are investing in agriculture, real estate, health, education and ICT, amongst others.
Dabiri-Erewa implored all stakeholders to continue engagement for Diaspora Voting with the National Assembly to amend relevant sections of the law to enable INEC to do the needful.
She assured Nigerians abroad that details of Nigerians Diaspora Investment Trust Fund (NDITF) will soon be unveiled as a platform for structured diaspora investments, just as Diaspora mortgage and housing facilities are some of the programmes being introduced by NIDCOM for the welfare of the citizens abroad.
Similarly, 33 states now have State Diaspora Focal Point Officers with Abia setting up Abia Diaspora Agency, while Edo and Enugu are almost set with their own agencies just as Ondo and Anambra states have Commissioners.
She also described the Diasporans as a valuable asset worth more than the billions of naira they sent home as remittances as they are contributing immensely to national development through training and capacity development.
Stressing that no nation can develop without its diaspora, she emphasized the need for Nigerians at home and in diaspora to work together.
It is expected that by the end of the 2022 financial year, the remittances from Nigerians in the Diaspora from official sources would have increased from its current $22 billion to about $25 billion.
London is the new capital of Nigeria - PUNCH
Last week, the top three presidential candidates in Nigeria’s 2023 elections were in London, holding meetings with people seen as political powerbrokers in Nigeria. They ensured that those photos were sent out and most Nigerian newspapers published them on their cover. Most of the people in the photos were on holidays in Europe or on medical trips, while a few were on short visits.
The interesting, or rather sad, part of the story is that there is nobody in all those photos that is from Europe or any country outside Nigeria. Nobody in those photographs lives in Europe or is there as a temporary worker. All of them flew from different Nigerian cities recently.
Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, met with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. Also in the meeting were Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
Similarly, a former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, met with Wike, and the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in London. Also in the meeting were Ortom, Ikpeazu, Makinde and former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke.
Wike also confirmed that he and Ortom, Ikpeazu and Makinde also met with the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, in London. In the past, of the three top presidential candidates, only Obi had visited Wike in Rivers State since the completion of presidential primaries in early June. Even Abubakar, who is in the same party with Wike and has wanted to resolve the rift between him and the Rivers State governor, could not visit Wike in Nigeria. He had to go to London to see him.
Some may say that the reason for the preference for London was because of security concerns. But that cannot be true. In the past weeks, many politicians had visited Rivers State, on the invitation of Wike, to commission some of the projects he had completed. There has never been any story of an attempt on them.
Some have also said that the reason was that Wike was holidaying in London with Ortom and Ikpeazu, making it easier for his itinerary to accommodate his visitors who need his support as the governor of the oil-rich Rivers State with a sizeable number of voters in Nigeria.
But all those excuses are untenable. The optics of a former president of Nigeria, a former vice president of Nigeria, top presidential candidates, incumbent governors and former governors gathering in a London hotel to hold political meetings among themselves—with no single non-Nigerian in attendance—was awful. It was a slap on the face of Nigeria.
Could you just visualise the political leaders of New Zealand, South Korea or Austria flying into London or New York to hold political meetings amongst themselves? Even the thought of political leaders of such countries holidaying in another country is something that would not make their citizens happy.
All serious countries take pride in showcasing things that depict them as patriotic, while Nigerian politicians take pride in showcasing things that depict them as unpatriotic. They derive a special kind of joy from showcasing their foreign tastes as a mark of their sophistication. Yes, Wike is an important figure in the 2023 election. But if the Independent National Electoral Commission keeps to its word to be detached, disinterested and unbiased in the conduct of the election, no individual— including Wike—will have any control over the way voters will cast their vote.
The best many politicians can do is to use money to induce voters. But because millions of voters will be voting, unlike what was obtained during the party primaries, the number of people to induce will be too high to be possible. In spite of the hunger in the land, many people are angry with the condition of Nigeria and are eager to register their anger with their vote.
Some days ago, Wike and his fellow governors returned to Nigeria. One then wonders what was so important with meeting Wike in London that it could not wait till this week or next week for the meeting to be held with him in Rivers State. He had hosted different political party leaders in recent times in Port Harcourt in Rivers State. Why couldn’t those meetings be held in Port Harcourt instead of London?
National pride is not all about wearing the national colours and mouthing slogans like “I love my country.” It appears in little acts like giving medical treatment to Nelson Mandela within South Africa until the day he passed. If he were a Nigerian, the Nigerian government would have flown him to a hospital in Europe, North America or Asia.
Over the weekend, Ondo State announced that it has become an offence for teachers employed by the state to enrol their children in private schools. The state chairman of the Universal Basic Education Board, Victor Olabimtan, said the order came in reaction to the dwindling population of pupils in public primary schools across the state. The South-West state said it was worried that despite its investment in primary education, public primary schools’ enrolment continued to dwindle.
Ordinarily, this action of the Ondo State Government should be commended. But the hypocrisy in it is what makes it sickening. The Federal Government and the various state governments have a record of trying to enforce patriotism on others, especially the weakest in society.
In a country where federal and state officials send their children to foreign universities or private universities in Nigeria or go abroad for medical treatment or holidays, what moral right has the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to force teachers employed by the state not to send their children to private schools where they will get a better education?
If Akeredolu, as well as the deputy governor, commissioners, members of the House of Assembly, and members of the public service, had their children in public primary schools, secondary schools and universities, it would be justified to direct government-employed teachers to keep their children in public schools. That is how to lead by example. You can’t be selling a product you don’t use.
Patriotism is not decreed into law. It percolates through the system and becomes part of the national culture when the citizens see that those who lead them practice what they preach by putting the country first and showing a readiness to make sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, for the country.
– Twitter: @BrandAzuka
China’s Biggest Developer Says Property Crisis Has Yet to Bottom - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- China’s biggest property developer by sales is predicting more pain for the real estate industry after posting a record drop in first-half profit.
“The home market hasn’t entirely bottomed out, and the sector’s consolidation isn’t over,” Country Garden Holdings Co. Chief Financial Officer Wu Bijun said at an earnings briefing on Tuesday afternoon. “Property sales nationwide still haven’t stabilized.”
China’s developers are grappling with a yearlong sales slump, as homebuyer confidence evaporates during a liquidity crunch that’s stalled projects and triggered a wave of debt defaults.
Country Garden’s net profit slumped 96% to 612 million yuan ($88 million) in the six months ended June, the Foshan-based company said. That was the sharpest decline since its 2007 listing in Hong Kong.
Read more on Country Garden’s earnings
Wu said that while a trough of corporate profit has “started to emerge,” the developer’s income statement will remain under pressure in the near future. “No one had envisioned such a cold market environment earlier,” she said.
Speaking at the same online briefing, President Mo Bin said the housing market is likely to return to normal by June next year.
Green Africa Launches New Daily Flights To Benin, Lagos, Abuja - INDEPENDENT
LAGOS – Green Africa Airlines has commenced direct daily flight services from Benin to Lagos and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The airline in a statement by Omolara Kehinde, its Brand Marketing Specialist said the commencement of the routes was part of its plans to connect Nigerians closer to their dreams and people that matter most to them.
The airline, which recently celebrated its one year anniversary, believed that the new service would offer seamless and affordable connections to customers travelling to and from the “Heartbeat of the Nation” to the two major cities in Nigeria. Obiukwu Mbanuzuo, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Green Africa, expressed delight with the new service.
He said: “We are delighted with this new daily service from Benin to Lagos and Abuja offering even more options for customers in Benin and its environs to connect much more affordably to Lagos & Abuja.”
Green Africa’s value model allows the carrier to offer some of the most affordable fares while also delivering an industry-leading on time performance (OTP) to customers in the country.
IATA okays release of $265m, urges foreign airlines to stay - THE GUARDIAN
By Wole Oyebade
• Emirates reverts withdrawal notice
International Air Transport Association (IATA), yesterday, applauded Nigeria’s decision to release $265 million of foreign airlines’ funds stranded in the country, urging the operators to keep serving the market.
IATA, which is the umbrella body for over 290 global airlines, also urged Nigeria to workout the release of the $200 million balance, and put in place measures to avert accumulations.
In a related development, Emirates Airlines has introduced four-weekly flights on Lagos routes, effective September 11.
Foreign airlines and travel operators, at the weekend, heaved a sigh of relief following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) release of $265 million out of foreign carriers’ $465 million stranded in Nigeria.
The sector has lately been apprehensive over the stranded funds. Emirates airline, among others, had notified the government and customers of its plans to halt Nigerian operations, effective September 1, 2022.
IATA’s Regional Vice President Africa & Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi, yesterday, said they welcome the Nigerian Government’s partial release of blocked funds.
Alawadhi said they would continue to engage with Nigeria on expediting the release of the remaining amount, so that airlines could continue providing the connectivity Nigeria requires, without disrupting and harming its economy and jobs.
“We encourage other countries, in Africa and elsewhere, that are blocking the repatriation of foreign airlines’ funds, to follow Nigeria’s example and release the money they are withholding.
“Without it, airlines cannot afford to serve those countries. This would be detrimental to the people and businesses that depend on the market connectivity those airlines provide.
“IATA speaks and leads the industry on matters of common interest. While IATA cannot speak for individual airlines, we hope the release of blocked funds with assurances and safeguards to prevent a recurrence, will persuade affected carriers to continue serving Nigeria,” he said.
Even after this welcome and sizable release, there will still be more than $200 million of airlines’ funds blocked in Nigeria.
As previously reported by IATA, the following other African countries continue to block airlines’ funds: Zimbabwe $100m, Algeria $96m, Eritrea $79m, and Ethiopia $75m.
Emirates in a notice to its trade partners, entitled: “Emirates reinstates flight to Nigeria”, stated that operations to Nigeria will be reinstated with a four-weekly Lagos flights EFF on September 11, 2022, contrary to its usual 14-weekly flights.
The carrier added that Lagos flights beyond September 30, 2022, would be advised in due course.
Secretary General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), reckoned that the Federal Government did the needful to save face from international condemnation.
To avert a recurrence, Ojikutu said the Nigerian aviation must be intentional in repositioning local carriers to benefit from the international segment.
He said it begins with removing the multiple destinations given to the foreign airlines and to limit them to either Lagos or Abuja airports, and one other airport in the alternative geographical area to their choice in Abuja or Lagos.
“Let them (foreign carriers) make as many frequencies as they wish to the given destinations, but they must make interlining arrangements with the domestic airlines to help distribute incoming international passengers to their final destination and connect outbound international passengers to the nearest international airport, but payments must be done for the interlining connection in dollars.
“This way, you remove the foreign airlines out of our domestic routes and domestic markets of the domestic airlines. Finally, ensure that a Domiciliary Aviation Commercial Account is opened with the CBN where money generated by the operators in Aviation and Maritime are kept and naira equivalent given to the depositors. These dollars can be taken back when needed and the naira returned.
“That Domiciliary Account can be a succour for the repatriation of the foreign airlines money. There is also a BASA Account with the CBN where the repatriation money can substantially be taken. There was substantial money too once generated by Commercial Agreements, whatever was the reasons for the cancellation of those agreements can only be explained by those in the management of the civil aviation administration in and out of government,” Ojikutu said.
Aviation agencies near collapse over airlines’ billion naira debt - BUSINESSDAY
...NCAA gives operators one month ultimatum to present repayment plans
BY Ifeoma Okeke-Korieocha
Musa Nuhu, the director-general, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned that if over N42 billion and $7.8 million debt owed by airlines to aviation agencies in the country are not paid immediately, the aviation organisations may collapse in the next few weeks.
Domestic airlines are currently owing NCAA N19 billion and $7.8 million respectively for their statutory five percent Ticket Sales Charge and Cargo Sales Charge (TSC/CSC).
The airlines are also indebted to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to the tune of N18 billion and N5 billion, respectively.
The airlines owe FAAN landing and parking charges, while they are also hugely indebted to NAMA in terminal and navigational charges.
Nuhu in a stakeholder meeting held with indigenous airlines and ground handling companies in Abuja on Tuesday, gave the operators a one-month ultimatum to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NCAA, which would stipulate the repayment plans of their debts to the agency.
Nuhu expressed disappointment over a letter, which emanated from the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), signed by Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa, the President of AON, dated August 8, 2022 and addressed to Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation that accused the agencies, especially the NCAA of muscling out the operators through multiple charges.
Nuhu who noted that the airlines and the entire aviation industry were going through a very difficult period, especially at this time, insisted that all the charges collected by NCAA were statutorily and in compliance with the Civil Aviation Act 2006.
According to him, the airlines were not responsible for the payment of TSC/CSC, but only collect such on behalf of the agencies from the passengers and wondered why the operators would accuse it of engaging in multiple levies.
Nuhu further debunked the claim that the NCAA imposes excess baggage charge on the airlines.
He further compared and juxtaposed the levies imposed on operators in Nigeria and Ghana, and reeled out the huge differences.
The NCAA helmsman explained that for any of the charges to be repealed, it would have to go through the National Assembly and must be assented to by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He also decried that out of the 5 per cent TSC/CSC, the agencies still remit 25 per cent of their revenues to the Consolidated Revenue Account created by the Federal Government and advised the operators to always cross check their facts before going to the public.
Read also: Nigerian airlines to miss out as Emirates cut flights
He added: “NCAA relies 100 percent on its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). The 5 percent TSC paid by passengers is 85 percent of NCAA revenue, while the other 15 per cent comes from airlines as payment for services provided and they are all cost recovery. We don’t also impose any excess baggage charge on the airlines. I wonder where the operators saw this.
“The airlines have intentionally refused to pay the debts owed us despite the fact that they have collected such from the passengers. The airlines collect money and refuse to transmute such to the right authorities. AON wants us to provide services for free for them. What the airlines are trying to do is to make the NCAA defunct. You have refused to give us our legitimate money. The fees we are charging the airlines are just cost recovery and we are actually subsidising the airlines.”
Also, Mathew Pwajok, the acting managing director of NAMA, reiterated that the charges of the agency were minimal when compared to other countries around the world.
Delta Air Lines Suspends Lagos-New York Flights - DAILY TRUST
By Abdullateef Aliyu
US airline, Delta, has suspended its New York-JFK-Lagos flight with effect from October 4, 2022.
In a statement, the airline stated that the route suspension was to fit into “the current demand environment.”
The statement however said the airline was still operating its Lagos and Atlanta routes.
Daily Trust reports that the airline added the route in December, 2021 to increase its frequencies in Nigeria.
It was however not clear whether the suspension was informed by its inability to repatriate its funds as more foreign airlines review their operations in Nigeria over $465m blocked funds.
The Nigerian government only recently released $265m out of the funds even as foreign airlines are agitating for the release of the balance.
The statement by the US carrier reads, “Delta is suspending its nonstop service between New York-JFK and Lagos to fit the current demand environment. The airline continues to operate service between Lagos and Atlanta and offers onward connections to New York and other cities across the United States.
“Customers impacted by our suspended New York-JFK to Lagos service will be re-accommodated on Delta operated flights or services operated by our joint venture partners. Delta remains committed to the Nigeria market.”
Japan to further ease border curbs to exploit weak yen - REUTERS
TOKYO, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Japan will further ease border controls from Sept. 7 by raising the ceiling for daily entrants to 50,000 and freeing up entry for travellers from all countries on package tours without the need for guides, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after returning to work from a COVID-19 infection, Kishida said Japan will proceed with further easing steps, taking into account virus infections in and outside of the country, travellers' demand and border controls adopted by other countries.
"From the standpoint of making use of merits from the weak yen, we'll ease border controls further," Kishida told reporters.
Japan's yen has been trading at its lowest in more than 20 years against the U.S. dollar and other major currencies, a potential boom for Japanese businesses exposed to international tourism.
Japan began a phased reopening to tourists in June after a more than two-year ban. But visitor arrivals had been limited to 20,000 per day and had to be part of packaged tours accompanied by guides at all times to ensure compliance with infection controls.
Kishida has pledged to bring Japan's border measures, among the strictest in the world during the pandemic, more in line with other wealthy democracies. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
Aviation crisis: Airlines cut workforce, Dana mulls resumption - PUNCH
Domestic airlines have continued to cut down on their workforce as the crisis in Nigeria’s aviation industry lingers, it was learnt on Monday.
It was also gathered that though plans were on the way to re-engage some of the disengaged workers, this would basically happen when more airplanes belonging to the affected carriers start to operate.
Airline officials told our correspondent that workers who were asked to leave were mainly those associated with the day-to-day operations of airplanes, as the crisis led to the drop in the number of functional aircraft in the sector.
This came as officials of Dana Air confirmed that though the airline had been out of operations for about a month, it was working to resume operations in September.
On July 31, 2022, Sunday PUNCH exclusively reported that the persistent rise in the cost of aviation fuel, known as jet A1, was causing apprehension as stakeholders expressed fears that there might be huge job losses.
The cost of JetA1 jumped from less than N300/litre to over N800/litre within a few months, warranting an increase in airfares by airlines that could manage to get the commodity.
Others that could not survive the situation, such as Aero Contractors, had to temporarily suspend operations. Aero suspended its operations last month.
Also in July, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority suspended Dana Air’s Air Transport Licence and Air Operator Certificate indefinitely. The suspension took effect from midnight of July 20, 2022.
Speaking on how the situation led to the cut down of employees in Aero Contractors, a senior official at the firm said this was because the airline was currently not earning revenue.
“The company is not making money now and so it has to rationalise,” the official, who spoke to our correspondent in anonymity due to lack of authorisation, stated.
The source added, “But once it starts operations, with the more aircraft it gets, then it will call them (disengaged workers) back. That’s what most airlines do.
“So Aero will, of course, call those who were disengaged back and I think Arik Air also did the same thing because after the COVID-19 crisis, it recalled some workers. It is what airlines do to stay afloat in this business, particularly now that aviation fuel price is so high.
“Therefore, as the airlines are expanding their fleet, they are recalling some of the workers. Remember that during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, most airlines globally suspended their flights and workers were asked to go. But as they recovered gradually, they kept recalling their workers.
“Aero did the same thing too that time. So, this is not the first time they are doing it. They call it rationalisation because this is based on the number of aircraft that is being operated by the airline.”
The official explained that between 30 and 50 workers or more were often attached to an aircraft, stressing that the workforce of an airline was proportional to the number of aircraft in its fleet.
The source added, “So, the number of workers depends on the number of aircraft. But now Aero has just one aircraft and the other one is coming in any time soon. But none is flying yet.
“So, the airline is not making money, therefore, how do you expect it to keep staff and pay them? The only one aircraft there in Abuja has not started flying.”
For Dana Air, it was gathered that though the airline’s operations were grounded last month by the NCAA, its staff were not laid off, as efforts were on to get the carrier back to flight operations in September.
“Everybody is working, except those who attend to customers, but they will be paid. So, no one is asked to go. Everybody is on ground,” the spokesperson, Dana Air, Okwudili Ezenwa, stated.
Asked to state when the airline would resume operations, Ezenwa said, “We are on it. We are almost done with the audit, so we’ve been given a go ahead to get our pilots to go on training and they are on it now. So, when they finish their training we should start.
“If the pilots finalise their trainings on time, amid the high cost of foreign exchange, which is what we use in most of these activities, we hope that next month our services will resume.”
40 Years After, Lagos Airport’s New Terminal Changes Travel Experience - DAILY TRUST
By Abdullateef Aliyu
Six months after its commissioning, the new terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos is set to witness an increase in activities with the planned relocation of five airlines to the ultra-modern, state-of-the-art facility built to enhance passenger facilitation at the nation’s busiest aerodrome, Daily Trust reports.
President Muhammadu Buhari in March this year, commissioned terminal two of MMIA, 40 years after the old terminal was built, suffering tear and wear and inflicting inconvenience on passengers.
Being the busiest airport in the country, MMIA is likely the first port of call for a first-time visitor who flew into Nigeria. But the depreciation in the old terminal has seen basic facilities like the sanitary system, cooling system and carousels for baggage handling, among others breaking down intermittently.
From time to time, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has spent millions repairing and fixing the dilapidated facilities.
But the commissioning of the new terminal is set to change the narrative among Nigerian travelers and visitors alike.
This was why the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is the chief information officer and image maker of the federal government, undertook a facility tour of Terminal 2, which he described as a testament to the Buhari administration’s unprecedented infrastructure development across the country.
The minister, who was received by the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, and Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, was taken round the check-in area; passport control; screening machines; 22-room hotel; boarding gates; boarding areas; praying area for Muslims and Christians; port health screening; baggage claim area and arrival concourse by the terminal manager, Mrs Ojali Ausa.
At the end of the tour, Lai Mohammed said, “This edifice – and the others like it – is a testament to the commitment of the Buhari administration to the unprecedented infrastructure development covering roads, bridges, rail, water dams, seaports, etc.
“No administration in the history of Nigeria has done this much, especially at a time of paucity of resources,” he said.
He said the tour of the new terminal was an exciting experience, adding that the facilities at the airport were comparable to those that could be found anywhere in the world.
“The terminal, which has state-of-the art facilities and fittings, has the capacity to process 14 million passengers per annum. It has 60 check-in counters, five baggage claim belts, 16 departure desks and 28 arrival desks.”
In addition, it has eight security screening points and seven passenger boarding bridges, the minister said.
“There is a whole new experience in terms of aesthetics, comfort, free trolley services, hotel and premium lounges, friendly customer service, and free wifi,” he also stated.
In addition, Terminal 2 of the airport was not built to replace Terminal 1 but to complement it, he stated.
“That’s why we were told that you could check in at one terminal and board at the other. So there is a handshake between the two terminals.
“It was the first terminal added to the original terminal since it was built some 40 years ago,” Lai said.
But since it was commissioned, only Air Peace has started operating from the terminal while other airlines are yet to move in due to the size of the ramp which, as the FAAN MD explained, was undergoing expansion while five more airlines are set to relocate this week.
According to the minister, as more airlines relocate to the terminal, it will begin to bubble and record more activities.
The minister said, “On the air bridge ramp and the interface, one of the things the terminal manager told us is that not only is this airport in use but you can actually board your flights and check-in here.
“You can arrive in one terminal and pick up your luggage in another terminal, and this has taken care of the issue of interface between the two terminals.
“I was here 40 years ago when the first terminal was commissioned. There is a time between the commissioning of an airport and when the airport becomes operational. You know, aviation is unforgiving of any mistake.
“So we need to test-run and be extremely certain that every piece of equipment is working optimally. The beauty of it is that this airport has become operational. You can come here and continue to various parts of the world. When the old airport was commissioned, it took quite a while for it to become operational.
“The new international terminal is not to replace the old one but to complement it. It is gradually, and very soon, this airport will be very busy. You can see that terminals are not used only by airlines. We have restaurant operators, banks, foreign exchange operators etc and you have to screen people over and over again before it becomes operational.”
Speaking on the expansion, the FAAN MD said, “We will rather take our time than to start on the wrong footing and that does not mean nothing is being done. From the 1st of September, five more airlines are scheduled to start operations in the new international terminal. A lot of integration has to be done.
“More than eight airlines showed interest, but five are starting from the 1st of September from the international terminal. There is a connecting area with the old terminal where passengers are moved from one terminal to the other.”