Abuja - The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will soon commence the removal of abandoned aircraft from about eight airports, its General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Akin Olukunle, has said.
Olukunle told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos that there were about 65 abandoned aircraft to be removed.
``The presence of the disused planes can attract strangers to the airport environment, as well as people of questionable character wanting to sell the scrap.
``By the end of this month, we are going ahead to remove the planes in the overall public interest. We have given enough time to the owners to do so, but some have not.
``We are not happy that a significant number of old aircraft belonging to inactive operators, currently create awful scenery several metres along the runway of many domestic airports across the country,’’ he said.
Olukunle noted that if the affected airlines failed to remove their abandoned aircraft, the authority would be compelled to get rid of them, adding that the affected airlines would be made to pay for the cost of such removals.
He said that most of the abandoned planes were unserviceable and could obstruct routine and emergency operations at the airports.
FAAN Managing Director, George Uriesi, had earlier told newsmen in Lagos that the abandoned aircraft posed potential safety hazard to airport operations.
``The ultimatum is to ensure that the airport is further secured, especially at this time when Nigeria is faced with security concerns.
``He said the exercise should be seen as part of measures to ensure a cleaner airport environment aimed at actualising the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan in the aviation industry,’’ he said.
Uriesi said FAAN had earlier issued a warning to owners of the planes to remove them from the airport vicinity, but without any response from them.
NAN recalls that a recent ruling by a Lagos High Court in favour of FAAN came as a big relief to the agency to remove the aircraft from the airports.