Asaba International Airport Concessioned To Private Investors. By Austine  Akaeze

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For greater service delivery and improved profitability,  the Delta State Government on the 23rd January, 2021, officially concesioned the 8-years old Asaba International Airport, at a brief ceremony at the Airport complex.
Dignataries came from near and far to witness the epoch ceremony, the first of its’ kind in Nigeria.
Among those Present was the State governor,  Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa and his deputy, Bar. Kingsley Otuaro. Others are all  members of Delta State Executive Council.
Present also was the speaker, DSHA, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, the deputy’s speaker,  and other house members.
Present  equally is Secretary to the State government, Mr. Chinedu Ebie;   Senior Policy Adviser to the governor, Prof. Sylvester Monye; Senior Economic Adviser to the governor, Mr. Kingsley Emu;  Special Project Director of the Asaba Airport, Hon. Austine Ayemidejor; Mr. Azu Aligbe, an experienced aviation industry consultant; Prof Masa Abubakar, who represented Federal Aviation Agencies; Delta State Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko; and Chief justice of the state, Justice Marshall Umukoro.
With the signing of the aggrement, Asaba International Airport became the first airport in Nigeria to be leased out to private investors  and to  be privately managed. The concessioning duration is for a  period of 30 years.
For the concessioning, a Master Concessionaire/Sub- Conscessionaires Model was adopted.
FIDC-Menzies Consortium emerged as the Master Concessionaire.  They have more than 15 years in international aviation management and they operate in more than 20 countries/airports in Europe, America and Asia.
 For the purpose of managing Asaba Airport, Asaba Airport Company Ltd, a special purpose vehicle, was set up by FIDC-Consortium, to manage  the project.
For other strategic business units at the airport,  Air Peace Ltd. will function as the Anchor Airline and  Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Operator of the Asaba Airport.
Multifreight Cargo and Logistics, will be in charge of cargo and logistics center of the Airport.
Arbico Construction Company, under the terms of agreement, will develope the business Park, hotel and convention center.
Rainoil Ltd, owned by Gabriel Ogbechie and Cybernetics Ltd. are both to develope the airport tank farm and provide aviation fuel for aircrafts.
While Quorum Aviation Ltd, is to develope and manage a Private Jet and Helicopter Terminal.
Under the terms of agreement, the concessionaires will pay Delta State government 100 million every year, with 1 billion to be paid upfront, two weeks from the date of signing the agreement.
Delta State government will  also earn 2.5% of annuel net profits earned by the operators.
Every five years, the contract will be reviewed by 10% upwards.
Going by the terms of the agreement, the new investors will be investing more than 28 billion naira on infrastructure development within and around the airport  over the next 30 years.
This arrangement  will provide massive employment and boost infrastructural development within the airport and around the state in general.
The long term goal of the project is to turn Asaba Airport into a major hub of aviation activities and bringing the airport up to world class standard as found in Dubai and elsewhere.
Delta State governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa in his address, thanked his predecessor in office, Emmanuel Uduaghan, for conceiving the vision and building the airport. “However, when my government came in, the airport was in dire need of infracstrutural rehabilitation and my government went to work immidiately to fix the airport which has already been  downgraded federal authorities”.
Under the Sen. Okowa government, major works were carried out. The 3.7 kilometres runways, including the taxiways, were  rehalbillitated.
Also, runway ground lighting system was provided and instaled on the entire length of the runway.
Other critical aviation facilitaties provided and  installed by the state  government  include Instrument Landing System (ILS), to aid aviation navigation in bad weather situations; Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) and Low Level Wind Shear Alert System (LWSAS),  both to aid smooth landing and taking off of aircrafts.
Also, the entire perimeter fencing of the airport was completed. A brand new clinic was built. The fire fighting station was completed. A new tower was also built for the fire station.
With all these facilities were put put in place to help safe aviation operations.
In recognitions of the efforts of the state government,  the federal government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities, NCAA, upgraded the Asaba Airport to level 6, having met the required standards. All these  have combined to make the airport conduscive  for air travellers and  attractive to private Investors.
The governor pointed out that the concessioning of the airport was done with the best of public interest at heart. He added that it will be to the good of all Deltans. Also, the state government mandated the concessionaires to see it that 20% of its staff are indegenous Deltans.
Prof. Masa Abubakar, who spoke on behalf of federal aviation agencies, promised the state government and the conscessionaires the full support and complete cooperation of the federal government, in turning the Asaba Airport into a world class facility.
The state government as well as the airport community, just before the  agreement signing formalities, thanked and appreciated the efforts of the Special Project Director of the Airport, Hon. Austine Ayemidejor, who from inception, nurtured and managed the airport to its’  present enviable status.
However, some members of the airport staff  showed some level of  apprehension as to what will be their fate.  They wanted to know whether they will be asked to go back to their individual respective  ministries or will they be retained and  absorbed, under a sort of  special arrangement, by the new managers of the airport? The situation was not clearified as at the time of report.
The Secretary to the State government, Mr. Chinedu Ebie, signed on behalf of the Delta State Government while Mr. Adebisi Adebutu, CEO of Asaba Airport Company Ltd, signed on behalf of  the concessionaires.
Austine  Akaeze is a Public Affairs Commentator and writes from Asaba, Delta State 

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