The minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has allayed the fear of sack in the aviation sector, saying that data from the International Civil Aviation Organisations (ICAO) revealed the nation’s aviation sector is currently short of staff.
Speaking at a virtual meeting against the backdrop of fear expressed by some staff of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), that concessioning of the airports would lead to loss of jobs; he assured the workers that concessioning would rather create new jobs.
Recall that the proposed concession of the four major airports in the country in the last five years has generated heated debates and fear of job loss among stakeholders especially the unions, leading to a series of protests.
However, the minister said some airports were currently short of staff and would engage more hands to ensure the airports function optimally. He added that as more airports are being taken over by the government, workers would be needed to run them.
The minister said: “The workers’ union is worried over loss of jobs but I keep assuring them that they will not lose their jobs because number one, currently by the findings of ICAO, we are understaffed in so many areas and we need to recruit people so we need all hands to manage our airports.”
“Secondly, we have now increased the number of airports within our care, we are taking over Gombe, Bauchi, Dutse, Kebbi, Osubi and many other airports and we need new hands to manage the airports.
Sirika further explained that the entire airports are not up for concessioning as only the terminal buildings will be concessioned.
He explained that the concessionaire would provide the investment required to upgrade the existing facilities and take over the new terminals and maintain them for a period of time to be determined, and based on the financial assessment of each transaction.
“The concessionaire will sign service level agreements with FAAN and NAMA to ensure that the airport operates efficiently, the service level agreement will cover the runway, taxiway, security and air traffic management,” he said.
Speaking further, the minister said existing concessions within the terminals would be inherited by the concessionaire and would be allowed to run its course before further review.