Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has
said that airports anywhere in the world are driven by the economic realities of a particular area.
Amaechi stated this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
He therefore, advised state governments intending to build airports to always take the economic realities in their areas into consideration.
“There is one airport that my former colleague was subsidising for passengers to use even though now the airport has picked up a bit.
“There are some airports in some parts of the country that only chartered flights go to.
“That is why I have said that it is economic realities that drive an airport.
“Dubai maritime activities is free because goods come and they act as a transition and when the goods come you come there, unload and transit to your country.
“So it is those economic activities that would help build an airport.
“Take for instance, my friend and former colleague, who was the governor of Delta State, I was like why did you build an airport in Asaba when there is one at Benin?
“I told him that he could have used the money used on that airport to build schools and so on.
“He said the activities in Onitsha can fund that airport and that is complete.
“In fact, if by tomorrow they apply for international flight and I have the capacity to give them apprtoval, I will do that.
“Most of those who trade outside of Onitsha can export their products through Asaba and that makes economic sense.’’
Amaechi, said that payment for the use of trolleys at the airports was not peculiar to Nigeria.
He said it was the trend in a lot of airports across the world.
“There are so many airports you go to and you have to pay for the use of trolleys.
“In Washington DC for instance, you have to put your dollar in and pick your stuff; it is not a Nigerian thing alone.
“An airport runs itself. If it’s viable, somebody will come and say he wants to supply trolleys because he knows that he will make money from it.
“I am not saying they are not right, but I am saying it’s a thing that is very rare.
“There are areas you go, you get free trolleys and there are areas you go and you pay and Nigeria is one of those areas where you pay for their use because an airport should run itself.’’