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FAAN bans govt agencies protocol officers from airports

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FAAN Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has banned protocol officers of government agencies from facilitating their principals and officials at airports across the country.

Also, 11 months after shutting down runway 18R/36L, she disclosed that it would soon open the facility to airlines for use.

The runway 18R/36L was shut down in March 2023 for an eight-week repair, but the repair has been on for 11 months with no specific fate of re-opening.

These were disclosed by the managing director, FAAN, Olubunmi Kuku, during her maiden interactive session with the Airline Operators Committee (AOC) and heads of security agencies under the auspices of the Airport Security Committee on Monday.

The FAAN MD, in a press statement by the director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, decried the proliferation of protocol services by the personnel of various agencies.

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She said it should be stopped immediately as it contravenes Executive Order 001 of 2017 of the federal government and undermines the protocol activities of the FAAN Protocol Unit and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

According to Kuku, the MFA has the sole responsibility of attending to designated government officials and urged agencies to liaise with them when they need to facilitate their principals or officials, while the Passenger Support Service (PSS) of FAAN handles corporate organisations as these services are being paid for.

On the reopening of the Lagos runway, Kuku assured the operators that Runway 18R, Link 3, and E Wing would be reopened in a few weeks.

Also, the FAAN boss called on airlines and security agencies at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) in Lagos to prioritize passenger facilitation.

She asked them to see the airports as an integral part of their duties, saying passengers must have a good travel experience.

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Kuku also addressed the various concerns of the airports, especially the state of infrastructure, which she said may not change overnight, but in the interim, some stop-gap measures are being put in place to create some comfort while the major issues are addressed gradually.

As regards the security screening process, the MD advised that security agencies should be consolidated to ensure that passengers undergo one seamless screening process.

The fact that passengers have to undergo multiple screening layers, she added, leaves them with bad travel experiences.

The airline operators also shared their pain points with the MD/CE. They mentioned issues with the baggage belts and the entire Baggage Handling System (BHS), the re-opening of the E Wing, payment for Avio Bridges that are not working properly, the general ambience of the airports, and so on.

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Some of the operators thanked the FAAN MD/CE for her considerate approach to getting them involved in her plans for the airport.

In her response, Mrs. Kuku emphasised her belief in the system of honesty and accountability and apologized for all the inconveniences that have been endured by the airlines.

She assured the operators that Runway 18R, Link 3, and E Wing would be reopened in a few weeks. She added that the replacement of BHS is underway.

On the issue of Service Legal agreements (SLAs) and contracts not revisited, the MD/CE promised to investigate and make appropriate consultations.

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