The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has given British Airways, Turkish Airlines and six other international airlines March 31st deadline to move into the new international terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Authority said the relocation of the airlines would enable it commence renovation work at the old terminal.
So far, out of the 13 international airlines operating in Abuja, five have moved into the building leaving out the eight.
The airlines that have moved are; Ethiopian Airlines, Air Cote d’Ivoire, ASKY Airlines, Air Peace and Emirate Airline.
The airlines that are yet to move are; Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Africa World Airlines (AWA), EgyptAir, RwandAir, Air France, and Arik Air.
This was disclosed in Abuja on Wednesday after Emirate Airline made its debut into the new Terminal by the Regional Manager, North Central FAAN/Airport Manager NAIA, Mr. Sani Mahmud.
The Boeing 777 aircraft marked A6-EBJ landed at exactly 3:00pm with 176 passengers and 16 crew members.
Speaking after the aircraft landed Mahmud said: “One of our biggest operator into Abuja, The Emirate Airline commenced flight operation into the new International Terminal today. It arrived with 176 passengers and 16 crew. The aircraft type is Boeing 777.
“We have now five international airlines operating in the new Terminal out of 13 but we have met with the remaining airlines and we gave them 31st of this month to move into the new Terminal that was commissioned by Mr. President on the 20th December, 2018.
“We believe we gave them ample time for them to have moved into the terminal and the old terminal is due for renovation.
“So, we have given them till 31st of this month to move into the new facility and we the management of FAAN will commence renovation in the old terminal.”
On whether there would be sanctions if any airline fails to move, he said: “We are confident that they will move because they have all been given offices and the connectivity is in place. So they will move.”
On when renovation work would commence at the old terminal, he saif: “We hope that contractors will start as soon as the airlines move because the renovation work has been budgeted in this year’s budget.”
He also disclosed that the Federal Government will come up with a policy on what Terminal C will be used for.
One of the passengers aboard the Emirate aircraft was the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris.
Idris who had been on vacation after he handed over arrived the country in company of his wife and female toddler.
He commended the government for putting up the facility and expressed optimism that the facility will be maintained.
He said: “It is a dramatic change. It is very good facility and I am very happy to see the change. I will advice passengers to follow the rules and not mess up the place. but I think it is a good product. Obviously, it cannot be compared to the old terminal at all. It is a great improvement and it can be compared to other standard terminals across the the world.”