As various agencies in the aviation industry strive in their various roles to improve the lot of the country’s airports and air services, the industry has recently received one of its biggest shocker for 2015, which came in form of a poor rating for Nigerian airports by an online organisation that claims global authority in airports rating, especially with regards to sleeping comfort.
The SleepingInAirports.net particularly came hard on the Port Harcourt International Airport in its 2015 “sleepability” ratings, describing the airports as the worst in the world.
The website annually conducts a survey by asking air travellers to rate their airport experiences based on services and facilities available within the terminal, cleanliness, customer service, comfort and their overall airport experience.
“Respondents suggested Port Harcourt Airport should also win the title of most corrupt airport in the world. The terminal’s unpleasant and unhelpful staff help to earn it this trifecta of atrocious awards. With virtually no seating, broken air-conditioning and a tent for an Arrivals Hall, it was a struggle for many voters to pass the minimum required amount of time here,” the website states.
It however notes that “the good news is that some areas of the terminal have been recently renovated, meaning you can expect actual walls, floors and windows.”
The Port Harcourt Airport is currently under rehabilitation, which is part of the remodelling contract. Since the rating, aviation stakeholders have been reacting. While some agree that a lot has to be done to bring Nigerian airports at par with international expectations, others dismissed the rating website as unserious and unworthy of reliance.
Awal Tukur, former chairman, House Committee on Aviation, said the SleepingInAirports.net rating may not be untrue.
“Our airports are not nice place, coincidentally I travelled out of Abuja airport last Saturday and I was very uncomfortable and look at it, this report just came out on the same issue, as a country we need to react to it because it is out there in the public.
Let’s be trueful here, we have horrible airports and the report was not lying and we need to make them better, we need to make them functional so that they can compete internationally,” he said.
However, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello faulted rating, but said Nigerian airports, especially those under rehabilitation will meet international standards as soon as work is completed on them.
Bello at a recent industry forum in Lagos, while reacting to the report of the rating, explained that the ongoing works in and around some of the airports may have informed the rating, maintaining that everything would be in proper shape once the works around the airports are done.
She said, “It is up to the leaders to agree or to disagree on the rating. When I saw the rating, the question I asked is, ‘do we still have touts at the airports? Are our airports dirty? Are we corrupt? Do we agree with all those questions?’
“It is something that I cannot categorically say yes we are corrupt, our airports are not clean, our airports are congested, and so on. I am sure you can actually say if these airports are actually dirty, or if this airports are full of touts, or if these airports are chaotic.
Source : Leadership