THREE Nigerian airports have been rated among the worst in Africa. While Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, is voted the 10th worst in Africa, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt were ranked the seventh and the sixth worst airports on the continent.
Other airports with dismal performance in 2014 are Khartoum International Airport, Sudan (first); Kinshasa N’djili International Airport, Democratic Republic of the Congo (second); Tripoli International Airport, Libya (third); Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania (fourth); Luanda Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport, Angola (fifth); N’Djamena International Airport, Chad (eighth) and Accra Kotoka International Airport, Ghana (ninth).
This was contained in a survey conducted by The Guide To Sleeping in Airports, the website that documents information on airports and the people who sleep in them.
In a statement by the website, voters submitted stories as they relate to unfortunate airport experiences across the continent.
“From dirty floors and bathrooms to the regular request for bribes, travellers were unimpressed with the airports that made it onto this year’s worst airports in Africa list.
“Other complaints revolved around a lack of air conditioning in sweltering climates, general navigational chaos, limited yet expensive restaurant options and questionably effective security processes.
“While travelling through these airports, most people prefer to skip the airport sleeping experience altogether and splurge on a nearby airport hotel instead. These airports task patience of travellers,” the report stated.
However, five airports made the list of the best in Africa. The list includes Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa, which is ranked the primus inter pares in Africa.
This is followed by Cape Town International Airport, South Africa (second); Durban King Shaka International Airport, South Africa (third), Algiers Houari Boumediene International Airport, Algeria (fourth); and Addis Ababa-Bole International Airport, Ethiopia (fifth).
In Europe, Charles de Gaulle airport, France was voted the worst, followed by Sheremetyevo in Moscow, which one traveller called “hell on earth.”
FAAN spokesperson, Mr. Yakubu Datti, has, however, dismissed the result of the survey, saying that it could not be accurate. In a telephone interview with The Guardian, Datti said other organisations had positively rated Nigeria airports. “I am just arriving from an event where improvement of Nigerian airports has been applauded,” he said.
He promised to provide data that would counter the result of the survey, but he did not do so until press time.
Several attempts made in the recent past by FAAN to improve the state of the airports through private-public partnership have been enmeshed in controversy. FAAN had at several times disagreed with indigenous concessionaires over contract terms. The recent examples are Maevis Ltd., an integrated automated service provider, and Bi-Courtney Limited, the concessionaire of the MMA2.
FAAN said the agreements were skewed in favour of the concessionaires and to the detriment of the Federal Government.
These disagreements have exposed many international passengers to hardship at both the Lagos and Abuja airports. Experience of such passengers may have contributed to the rating that Nigerian got in the survey, said a passenger, Mr. Asekun Thomas.
Stakeholders said the contention around concessioning agreements may prevent investors from showing interest in building aviation infrastructure in the future.