Tinubu to review Buhari’s concession of two Nigerian airports

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Festus Keyamo, has said the Bola Tinubu administration will review the Buhari administration’s concession of two major airports to make it more transparent.

The minister made this known in Abuja while delivering his remarks at the ongoing ministerial sectoral update in commemoration of President Bola Tinubu’s one year in office.

“We are starting the process of concession of airports all over again to make it more transparent,” the minister said, adding that “bureaucracy cannot run public infrastructure”.

The minister also said Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, remains suspended. He said what was launched last year by his immediate predecessor, Hadi Sarika, was an Ethiopian Airlines plane bearing Nigeria’s flag.

“Nigeria Air must be fully indigenous,” Mr Keyamo said.


Last year, after several failed promises, Mr Sirika launched Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, less than three days before leaving office.

The development further heightened concerns among Nigerians, as many took to social media to question the move and Mr Sirika’s handling of the airline’s proposed operation.

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The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation later called for the suspension of the establishment of Nigeria Air and for the prosecution of those involved in the unveiling of the national carrier, describing the exercise as a “ fraud”.

Similarly, less than two weeks to the end of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the concession of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, to the Corporacion American Airport Consortium.

But this was also faulted by the Nigerian Senate last July during the plenary presided over by the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin.

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By the agreement on the concession, Corporacion America Airports Consortium would make an upfront payment of $7 million to run the Abuja airport for 20 years and $1.5 million for Kano airport for 30 years.

The total revenue from the concession of the two airports during the period is estimated at over $4 billion.

Upon assuming office last year, Mr Keyamo announced the suspension of plans for Nigeria Air’s operations and airport concessions.

Going forward

During the ministerial briefing on Monday, the minister disclosed that the ministry under his watch has a robust plan for the sector.

“Despite current challenges, there is hope and confidence about the future of the aviation sector,” the minister said.

He listed the key focus of his ministry to include the development of a master plan for major airports in the country to transform them into proper hubs.

Mr Keyamo added that the government is reviewing the concession process of major airports to ensure it is more transparent to deliver world-class infrastructure.

There are also plans to support and empower local operators to compete with other international airlines on more international routes, facilitate the acquisition of aircraft under dry lease agreements, and review BASA to favour local operators.

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