THE TROUBLE WITH FAAN
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) may be on the path of recovery if the panel of enquiry set up by the National Assembly could unravel the cause and those behind the black out that has remained a recurring decimal at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), in recent times.
At the wake of this unabated and continuous power outage, which the Federal Government described as embarrassing, the honourable members called for thorough investigation to forestall future occurrence. Unknown to the Lawmakers, FAAN has been contending with myriads of problems that ultimately portray the aviation parastatal as an establishment that does not want to embrace change.
For example, irregular water supply, power outage, unkept toilets, unserviceable air conditioners, breakdown of conveyor belts, security lapses, fighting concessionaires and contractors, industrial disharmony, delay in the payment of salaries, delay in the payment of contractors, corruption, low staff morale in the place have all become trade mark of the authority. No wonder the Senate President David Mark, in his briefing to the senate committee on aviation, directed that names must this time be mentioned in their recommendation which shall be used as a deterrent to other offending public office appointees.
Agreed that former ministers of aviation may not have stayed too long in the office but the question is: of all these ministers that passed through aviation, how many of them could be said to have played an enduring role, given that successive regimes in the aviation industry have failed to enthrone and institutionalize both maintenance, administrative, manpower, financial prudence and other enduring legacies.
These present woes of the industry will surely continue if nothing urgent is done to bring sanity into the industry which is begging for immediate appointment of experienced and capable hands, there will be a total collapse of our cherished and memorable airport which was heralded as the best in Africa when it was commissioned in 1979.
Since we cannot continue to dwell in the past because of the dynamism of the aviation industry, the onus largely lies on the new minister of aviation, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, to rise up to the occasion and ensure that she leaves footprints that would stand the sands of time. This could be achieved if she settles down to understand and shun every form of unnecessary distraction and heaps of lies to every new minister.
The truth is that while we crave for the modernization and upgrading of the facilities at the airport, the authority should deem it fit to operate like every other airport around the world.
In the past 15 years, FAAN, has not really operated according to norms and standards. For example just recently, the authority has been having some nuts to grind with nearly all their stakeholders, airlines, contractors and concessionaires at the airports. Ask any Airline, Contractor or concessionaire, and each of them has different tales of woes to tell. These stakeholders include General Aviation Terminal (GAT), International Car Park, Domestic Port Charge, Terminal Zero, Toll Gate, ICI, Pan Express, Bi-courtney, Arik Air, Aero Control, Maevis I-cube.
Nevertheless, now that the National Assembly has waded into the problems of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), it may not be out of place to say that succour may have finally come the way of the authority, stakeholders, and indeed all Nigerians.
However, Nigerians and all other industrial watchers are earnestly waiting for the findings of the National Assembly on the continuous power outage at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA). A chance meeting with an old expert and owner of a defunct airline, summed up FAAN's woe in a short tale: 'FAAN was the first Federal Government parastatal to protest the introduction of computers into their administrative and operational system in 1988 sighting retrenchment and redundancy as their reason, that computer will take over their job. I see them remaining at the last level of institutional civilization amongst the committee of other federal agencies'.
Time will tell if FAAN will truly ever recover.