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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has shed light on the financial state of the country’s air travel infrastructure, revealing that just three out of 22 airports are commercially viable.

This concerning information was disclosed by FAAN’s Managing Director, Olubunmi Kuku, during a recent interview on Channels Television. Ms. Kuku highlighted the need for strategic development to improve profitability and optimize existing resources.

The data paints a clear picture: 19 airports are currently operating at a loss due to insufficient passenger traffic to cover operational costs. This underscores the importance of focusing on maximizing the potential of existing facilities before considering further expansion.

Furthermore, Ms. Kuku emphasized the need for critical infrastructure upgrades across the majority of FAAN-managed airports. Terminal areas, landside facilities, and airside infrastructure, including runways exceeding their 20-year lifespan, require significant attention.

FAAN acknowledges the financial burden of subsidizing unprofitable airports. Ms. Kuku noted the practice of “cross-subsidization,” where revenue from profitable airports helps to support those operating at a loss. This approach, while necessary in the short term, highlights the need for a long-term strategy to ensure financial sustainability across the network.

The focus should shift towards optimizing existing airports, Ms. Kuku suggests. Instead of constructing new airports, prioritizing activities that drive passenger traffic and economic activity in surrounding areas is crucial. This strategic approach can lead to a more efficient and profitable airport network for Nigeria.

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