Officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are lamenting over the failure of the agency to meet its monthly revenue target at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
They attributed the situation to loopholes created by some of the personnel who man the revenue sources of the agency.
A reliable source at FAAN who pleaded to remain anonymous, alleged that since normal operations started after the COVID-19 lockdown last year, there have been excuses given by these personnel as they continue to give the excuse that revenue targets are not being met because of the effects of the pandemic.
The source pointed out that domestic flight operations have returned to normal and international flight have reached over 65 per cent, which according to them ought to be reflecting in the agency’s revenue collection.
It was gathered that beyond documented revenue sources, like aeronautical charges, the major areas officials are allegedly shortchanging the agency, there is also the toll gate between the international and domestic wings of the airport and the car park located at domestic terminal, known as General Aviation Terminal (GAT).
When visited, the GAT car park and confirmed that the commercial staff of the agency in charge of the car park had migrated to manual operations, in a system that was previously automated.
Previously, anyone who drives into the car park is registered automatically and given a tally by the machine. Then, if the user decides to leave the car park he would take the tally to cash kiosk where the time his car spent would be calculated by automated machine and he would pay with credit card, but this process has been disengaged.
But when the airport was visited around 6:00 am last Thursday and observed that everything was done manually, which caused delays and it took the FAAN official about four minutes to attend to each motorist, which involved writing the car’s number in a big, worn out ledger and given him a handwritten number on a piece of paper, as the tally had been discarded.
Spending four minutes on every vehicle caused traffic gridlock and stirred anxiety among travellers who feared that waiting at the car park to park their cars might make them miss their 6:30 am and other flights.
The FAAN official who was recording the plate numbers told THISDAY that the system had broken down and that the agency was working towards fixing it.
Some travelers also revealed that the FAAN officials wasn’t accepting electronic payment, but was insisting on cash.
“I travelled two days ago and when I came to pick my car they insisted that I should pay cash. I didn’t have cash, but they asked me that I must go and get cash from Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) and pay them.
“But even in small shops in the streets, people accept credit card. I was shocked. I witnessed another frustrated passenger call the Minister of Aviation but I don’t know whether he actually got him or what his response was,” he said.
Another loophole, the FAAN officials who spoke identified was the toll gate where they said concessionaire was paying FAAN N40 million monthly two years ago, but when FAAN took over, the revenue has reduced drastically.
It was also learnt that at certain periods in the night the FAAN officials who man the tollgate leave their duty posts and vehicles would be passing freely.
However, the General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu expressed surprise that the automatic system at the GAT car park had been disengaged and assured that FAAN management would soon re-engage the automated system.
She promised to get the details of what happened from the commercial department of the agency.