The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on Monday said it had started the evacuation of abandoned aircraft at the airside of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN, confirmed the development to newsmen in Lagos.
Yakubu said that no fewer than 13 aircraft had been abandoned at the airside by different airlines over the years, despite several warnings issued to them by FAAN.
“We have about 13 aircraft abandoned at the airside. On Friday, we moved four aircraft from the airside and the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of Lagos airport told me again this morning that they are going to move another set of four aircraft.
“We have taken the legal issues into consideration; if you agree with me, these aircraft are not helping us in any way. They are taking up a lot of space. Space for aircraft landing and taking off are being taken by these aircraft.
“The airports belong to FAAN, which means that it is the property of the Federal Government, and there is no airline that is bigger than Nigeria. Nigeria has given them a long time to be able to move their aircraft, and they have refused to do this.
“FAAN is not taking possession of their aircraft; but we are moving them away from where they are to another place within the airport, where they will not serve as an eyesore, and where they will not constitute a nuisance to activities on our airside,” she said.
Yakubu said the owners of aircraft evacuated by the agency on Friday are Associated Air, IRS, Dana Air and Hak Air.
She said that the other aircraft to be evacuated on Monday belonged to the liquidated carrier, Air Nigeria, Associated Cargo, Bellview, JedAir, Precision Aviation Handling Company and PAC, TopBrass and others.
The FAAN general manager said the relocation was necessary to give more space for airworthy aircraft to land, take off and manoeuvre as expected during operations at the airside.
She said FAAN would continue to give top priority to the safety and comfort of airport users.
Yakubu said plans had reached an advanced stage for the agency to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at strategic locations within the airside, to forestall aircraft poaching and other incidents.
Apart from this, Yakubu said that FAAN had embarked on grass cutting at the airside and taken other measures to improve safety and security within that area of the airport.
“What we had in the past was that the ‘Follow Me’ vehicle used to be in the front of aircraft, but we have decided to reverse the order.
“The vehicles are now at the back of the aircraft, to ensure that the aircraft go to parking bay without any incident or aircraft poaching,” Yakubu said.