Lilian Ukagwu and Funmi Fabunmi
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria has ordered the immediate relocation of all aircraft stationed at the General Aviation Terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja ahead of the inauguration of the new government scheduled for May 29, 2023.
FAAN said the removal of aircraft parked at the Abuja airport was necessary to enhance the safety of the airport during the forthcoming presidential inauguration.
Many of the aircraft parked at GAT terminal in Abuja are private jets belonging to wealthy Nigerians, firms and airlines.
The relocation directive was contained in a circular dated May 8, 2023, addressed to aircraft operators and signed by the Regional Manager, FAAN, Kabir Mohammed.
The circular with reference number: FAAN/ABJ/NAIA /RGM/NC/AM/1000/VOl-1 read in part,” This is to inform you of a need to temporarily relocate your aircraft to alternate airports due to the upcoming Presidential Inauguration slated for May 29, 2023.”
“The Presidential Inauguration is a high-security event, and in order to ensure the safety and security of parties involved, it has become necessary to temporarily relocate all aircraft parked at the GAT to alternate airports. To this end, you are kindly requested to relocate your aircraft on or before 22 May 2023.”
Reacting to the development, a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and Chief Executive Officer of Top Brass Aviation, Capt Roland Iyayi, expressed concern that most of the aircraft parked at the GAT terminal at the Abuja airport is not serviceable.
As such, he said relocating them from the place might prove difficult.
“Most of the aircraft parked there cannot fly, so if FAAN is asking for aircraft be moved then it would suggest that there’s something they know that we don’t know. I don’t think it’s possible, most of the aircraft parked there are not entirely serviceable, if they are not serviceable how do you move them?”