• Chidozie Uzoezie

South African Airways RM Criticizes Nigerian Airports

The Regional Manager of South African Airways has condemned the deplorable state of Nigeria’s airports while addressing aviation journalists in Lagos on Thursday.

Mr. Ohis Ehimiaghe, SAA regional manager for North, West and Central Africa, particularly described the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos, as the worst airport in the three regions he manages.

“Some of the facilities at the airports have completely collapsed and naturally irritate normal and rational passengers. For instance, if you decide to use the washroom facilities, your hormone system will definitely have challenges,” Mr. Ehimiaghe said.

He went ahead to criticize the various security agents working at the MMIA for what he described as harassment of customers.

“Going through the MMIA is a challenge and very bad for usage by a rational being. The smallest airport under me is Cotonou Airport in Benin Republic. I can go to their toilets and come out with a smile on my face. We are not harassed by security agencies, unlike in Nigeria. We have scanning machines at our airports in Nigeria, so, why the harassment by the security agencies again in the country?”

Mr Ehimiaghe also expressed his airlines's disappointment over the challenges of aviation fuel scarcity coupled with the prevailing Forex problems.

“Today, we are selling tickets at N306 and N308 per dollar, but it’s much more expensive than that in the black market and even in the open market. Since June, there has not been a date that we are able to repatriate our ticket sales funds at N308, but we do that at N360 to N370 per dollar.

“90 per cent of our operations are in foreign exchange and no Nigerian bank gives South African Airways a loan, rather, we get loans from the United Kingdom and United States,” he said.

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