The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said a recent rating of the Port Harcourt International Airport as world’s worst by sleepinginairports.net is unfounded. The authority has expressed dismay that the kind of yardstick used to arrive at such rating was not authentic.
In a statement issued to aviation correspondents in Lagos, FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr. YakubuDati, said the rating did not consider that the airport was undergoing a remodeling process but jumped to conclusion with a wrong judgment.
Dati, who described the rating as “controversial,” said“the Authority wishes to align itself with the position of the Supervising Ministry of Aviation, made through the Permanent Secretary, HajiaBintaAdamu Bello, as already reported in various newspapers.”
“Our stand therefore is that the said ranking was unfounded as it did not take cognisance of the fact that the Port Harcourt Airport terminal was still undergoing remodelling with some of its terminal operations still conducted in a temporary structure (tent). Apart from the on-going remodelling of the existing domestic terminal, from which both international and local flight operations are conducted, construction work is also in progress at the site of the new international terminal, among other projects at the airport.
“We sincerely believe that operations at such an airport, where construction work is going on simultaneously with normal flight and related operations, cannot be as conducive as those in airports where there are no on-going construction projects. Neither can environments at such different scenarios be equally clean,” he said.
He explained further that the Authority was aware of the enormous challenges posed by the peculiar operational situation at the Port Harcourt International Airport, which was why it had taken several measures to alleviate the difficulties faced by passengers and other airport users at the airport.
According to him, “one of such measures included closing down one of the tents and moving operations there to some sections of the remodeled terminal, even when work in those sections were not fully completed.”
Having expressed its position, FAAN has assured all passengers, airline operators and other airport users that services at all the nation’s airports are delivered at recommended international standards that ensure safety, security and comfort.
The authority, however, regretted any inconvenience experienced at these airports, including Port Harcourt International Airport, due to on-going construction projects and promised that services at these airports will surely improve at the completion of the projects.