Posted by Sade Williams
The Federal and State governments have been advised to consider construction of shopping malls, alternative power supply and other facilities when planning and designing airport terminals in order to attract not only traffic but other viable activities to them.
This, Mr. Bankole Bernard, the Group Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings said this would enhance commercial activities and boost non-aeronautic revenues at such aerodromes.
Bernard stated this over the weekend in Lagos at the 26th annual conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) with the theme: ‘Sunset Airports – the Safety and Economic Implication.’
Bernard, who was also the Chairman of the occasion said that the government could also consider the provision of affordable hotels, which would give credence to investments.
He emphasised that the ability to provide Bed & Breakfast (B&B) hotels around the terminals of some of these airports would be of great attraction, while also increasing the viability of the airport as well.
With these, he argued that any airport within the country would be viable and attract more travellers to it.
He further observed that only four airports out of 22 in the country; Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano operate 24 hours services, while the operations of the other 18 airports are restricted to only sunset.
According to him, efforts to enhance the operations of Owerri Airport, another international aerodrome to operate form sunrise to sunset had proved abortive over the years.
Bernard emphasised that aviation operates with international standards and appealed to the government at all levels to take a cue from other countries, which ensure commercial viability of their airports by thinking outside the box.
He said: “What then are the possible solutions to consider given the numerous challenges we are faced with in the industry? We can start with the modernisation of airport terminals with shopping malls. This will contribute to the commercial viability of the airports and other necessary infrastructures like the internet and constant power supply to support businesses.
“How about considering other sources of power? We must begin to think of an alternative power supply like renewable energy to keep the airport functional and reduce the cost of operation in the long run. This will also make the airport viable and attractive.
“Lastly, there is the area of interconnectivity within the airports. The interconnectivity of the local airports to the international airports will contribute to the economic viability of these airports. It will also bring the connection to such airports; hence it will not be limited to one drop-off and pick-up.”