By Mumini AbdulKareem
The Ilorin International Airport has recorded a shortfall of N2.19 billion in revenue losses in the last three years just it generated a total of N437.1m and collected N264.2m.
This is coming just as the country’s Airports Authority recorded a three-year deficit of N44.39 billion, representing losses incurred in 17 airports nationwide.
Meanwhile states governments and regional groups have continue to mount pressure on Federal Government and aviation agencies to reopen airports nationwide, more for political than economic considerations, according to a report by The Guardian newspapers.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, earlier hinted on the development, as he said he would not yield to political pressure.
Sirika said: “Unfortunately, we are living in a country where everything is polarised and trivialised. I remember receiving lots of questions regarding why we did not open, at least, one airport in each geo-political zone, amid pressure to open Owerri.
According to him “We did open Owerri because we believed Owerri was good to go. If Owerri was not ready, we would not open it. Now, we are also receiving pressure from Sokoto. If we find out that we cannot open it, for one reason or the other, we will not open it.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) lately stated that for an airport to be viable and self-sustaining, it must have, at least, five million passengers a year. Today, only Lagos and Abuja airports could boast of at least five million passengers in a year.
FAAN manages a total of 20 Federal Government-owned airports, with 12,000 workforces, a monthly wage bill of N4 billion and year-in-year balance deficit.
A factsheet of revenue and expenditure of FAAN headquarters in 2017-2019 showed that the body generated a total of N16.09b in three years, and collected N15.02b. It, however, spent a total of N59.41b, leaving a deficit of N44.39b in three years.
In-house sources said the deficit was not unconnected with efforts to keep the low-income airports running. Indeed, a closer look at the revenue earnings of some of the airports showed poor viability across the board.
For instance, Kastina Airport in three years generated a total of N250.8m, out of which the only N42.1m was collected. Its cost of operations was put at N1.58b, leaving a deficit balance of N1.54b.
Sokoto Airport had a total of N725.7m revenue, out of which N400.1m was collected. The cost of operation was in excess of N2.71b, which gave a shortage of N2.31b.
In the South, Ibadan Airport, in three years, made a total of N349.2m in generated revenue and collected N244.9m. The expenditure amounted to N1.39b with a deficit of N1.14b.
The Benin Airport in Edo State also ran at a loss. The airport generated a total of N993.2m in three years and collected N930.1m. The total cost of operations was put at N2.02b, leaving a shortfall of N1.09b.
The Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, had a total of N540.8m generated revenue, though collected more, put at N559.6m, the expenditure was as much at N2.50b, giving a deficit of N1.94b.
Similarly, Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, amassed a total of N1.25b in generated revenue and collected N1.08b. Expenditure was, however, N2.50b, with a shortage of N1.42b.
By Mumini AbdulKareem