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Lack of rail connections to airports

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By Nicole

Aviation experts have rued the non-linkage of Lagos, Abuja airports by rail.

Lack of rail connections between Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt airports has been lamented by experts in the country’s aviation industry. But the experts, working under the auspices of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRT), claimed that the sector had underperformed, with 42% of the work still in progress and 52% of it unfinished. The aviation specialists expressed confidence that connections will be made between the recently inaugurated blue and red line rails in Lagos State and the airport terminal structures.

The president of ASRT, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, questioned whether there were any plans to connect the airports before the project was conceptualized during the first quarter Breakfast Business Meeting (BBM) held on Thursday in Lagos. The topic of the meeting was “Aviation in Nigeria Beyond 2023 General Elections: Challenges and Prospects,” and a guest speaker was an economist named Prof. Patrick Utomi for air travelers and users of the aerodromes, he claims that the lack of a rail system has made inter-terminal access particularly difficult.

The industries are dependent on its response to myriad issues.

Additionally, Abuja’s light rail system does not link to the airport’s terminal building. Before these undertakings were carried out, did they have any plans? Asked he. One can only hope that Lagos’ recently inaugurated Blue and Red Line railroads will connect to the airport terminal buildings, he continued. The plan by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), the operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2), to build a light rail to link the domestic and international terminals of the Lagos airport was thwarted by the federal government ever since the terminal’s commissioning in April 2007, according to Dr. Olowo, who claimed that Nigeria has the worst access system to major airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port-Harcourt airports.

According to Dr. Olowo, the future of the Nigerian aviation industry is heavily dependent on how the industry responds to the myriad issues that are currently preventing its growth. However, he went on to say that given the impending general elections in 2023, it was imperative to get ready for Nigeria’s aviation future. In response to a question about how the aviation sector performed over the past seven years of the current administration, Dr. Olowo stated: “the group took a holistic view of the sector in eight years of the current administration and passed a verdict that six percent of recommendations were implemented; 42 percent of work still in progress; and 52 percent of work remained unscratched, disclosing that the sector had performed below par”.

The recent industrial action halted all activities.

Analyzing the government’s key performance indicators as a national carrier project, which he claimed is a stillbirth since certain domestic carriers have plans to truncate the projects by filing a lawsuit to stop them, is what led to this conclusion. On February 16, 2023, the matter will be heard. Other initiatives include the unborn National Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO), the inconclusive airport ticketing system, the successful civil aviation acts, and the transformation of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) into the intermodal transport agency Nigeria Safety Investigative Bureau (NSIB).

Additionally, the group poked fun at the ongoing strike by employees of Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCo), which last week rendered all aviation operations impossible. Activities in the industry were halted by the action, which one airline disclosed cost it more than N500 million. Who has responsibility for the financial damages airlines and service providers sustained during the recent strike that disrupted commercial activity at the airport is one of the questions that need to be answered in the middle of the unnecessary negligence.

Appropriate compensation should be given to all the affected parties.

Collateral harm from the strike was made worse by inadequate communication and crisis management. Due to MM2’s unexpected termination, a domestic carrier reportedly lost 500 million Naira. The ASRT harshly criticizes both the strike and management’s ineffective response. An appropriate compensation should be given to all the parties affected with regrets. Unfortunately, people would not change if the cost of keeping them the same is much greater than the benefit associated with doing so, he said.

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