Airport concession: Singaporean, Bi-Courtney, others bid for Nigeria’s international airports

A Singaporean firm, and 12 other airport consortia made up of local and foreign companies, have shown interest in the planned concession of four Nigerian international airports.

Manji Yarling, the spokesperson for Independent Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), disclosed this over the weekend in a chat with the media.

“13 companies submitted their Request for Quotations (RFQs) before the closure of the exercise on October 25,” she said.

Yarling, however, did not disclose details on the bid, including the names of the local and foreign companies that submitted RFQs for the concession.

This came as the ICRC last week began the evaluation of the applications submitted by the companies seeking to be pre-qualified for the airport concession process.

The Federal Government had on October 15, 2021, closed the Request for Qualifications for the concession of four international airports, namely the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; and the Port Harcourt International Airport.

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Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation has since announced the proposed concession of four of Nigeria’s major airports. Despite huge investments in these airports, they have continued to operate at sub-optimal levels, and have emerged as poster units for gross inefficiency. The concessions could last for 20 to 30 years, and are extendable on the grounds of good performance, would involve only the non-aeronautical assets of the airports. They are essentially public-private partnerships (PPPs), with the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) still in control of the aeronautical operations.

Airport concession is a known public-private partnership window in the global aviation industry. In countries such as Brazil, Japan, France, and Eastern Europe, investors engage in similar deals.

In 2009, the London Gatwick Airport was subjected to the same process. Other airports around the world in this class include the La Guardia in New York, the Western Sydney Airport in Australia, Clark Airport in Manila, Sangster International Airport in Jamaica, and Sofia Airport in Bulgaria. Back home,

Nigeria had its first experience of airport concession in 2003 when, as part of the early efforts of the Nigeria Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Second Terminal of the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, the Domestic Wing, in Lagos was handed over to Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

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