NIGERIA – The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has said concession of airports across the country will make them more viable.

The Chairman of the committee, Nnolim Nnaji, while speaking at the annual colloquim of Nigeria in Lagos stated that the model had been tested and found to be successful in other countries, adding that concession would lead to increased efficiency at the airports.

According to him, it reduces the need for public sector investment, provides access to larger commercial sectors and allows airports to diversify services without the fear of government control and interference.

 “Available statistics indicate that more than 50 per cent of European airports have some form of private ownership, with this percentage increasing significantly since 2011,” he said.

Nnaji stated that many countries’ airports were viable because they were being run by private entities.

He gave the example of Gold Coast Airport in Australia which according to him is “arguably an example of a successful privatisation model, having seen almost $233m of investment since it was taken over by Queensland Airport Limited in 1998.”

Many countries are seeking to replicate this Gold Coast Airport’s model, Nnaji noted adding that, “In May, Japan invited the private sector to submit proposals for the operation and management of seven airports under a 30 to 35-year concession.”

According to Nnaji, Brazil is also planning to shut down its National Airports Authority and sell its 54 airports to private companies.

He noted that It kicked off the ambitious programme last year, raising $889.08m through an auction of concession for four airports.

Aviation expert and Chief Executive Officer, Kitari Systems Limited, Ali Magashi, said the government should ensure the development of airports before planning for concession.

According to him, government is responsible for airport infrastructure and it is only after they are developed that concession can take place.