The Federal Government of Nigeria in 2000 embarked on a process of reforms in the aviation sector, including transferring the responsibility of the development, financing, management and operations of Nigerian airports to the private sector.
In 2003, Bi-Courtney Limited was awarded the concession by the Federal Government to develop, finance, manage and operate the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2, Lagos (and ancillary assets) under a Design-Build-Operate-Transfer (DBOT) arrangement. The project description included the airport terminal building, a multi-storey car park, an apron, a four-star hotel and a conference centre.
This was the first major DBOT project of such size in Nigeria and it marked the birth of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2).
Vision – “To be a dominant airport terminal operator bringing world class standards to the aviation industry in West & Central Africa and beyond.”
Under this arrangement, Bi-Courtney Limited designed the new airport terminal, raised the required funding, constructed and equipped the terminal and will operate the facility exclusively for 36 years. The terminal was inaugurated on April 7, 2007 by then President Olusegun Obasanjo and flight operations commenced on May 7, 2007. MMA2 handles about 75% of domestic flights in Lagos. In early 2009, the terminal was granted a pioneer status by the Federal Government as the first BOT project of its magnitude in the area of infrastructure development. The terminal has the capacity to facilitate four million passengers per annum with its modern technological innovations, which include the Common Users Passenger Processing System (CUPPS), self-service check-in kiosks, Automated Access Gates and the Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS). MMA2 is the first and only terminal to deploy such in Nigeria and the West and Central Africa. MMA2 has an obvious passenger and airline demand and currently handles over 50 flights a day to different destinations in Nigeria. The terminal is also home to top-of-the-range multinational retail outlets, shops, restaurants and some of the world’s most prestigious fashion labels and beauty products, offering a wide variety of exclusive items. Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) was established to manage the MMA2 terminal. BASL is also exploring opportunities to develop and manage other airports across Sub-Saharan Africa. MMA2 is a product of courage and tenacity despite a barrage of government opposition that has stifled the initial initiative of the DBOT project. This is significant in a way because what started in a modest way in 2007 has now become a benchmark to show how airports terminals should be run. This first successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in Nigeria has changed the face of the aviation industry, leading to airlines and passengers to now demand better services from government-run airports. The courage to maintain the facility amidst stiff opposition is a lesson for private investors wishing to invest in the concession opportunities now available by the government. BASL’s attitude is constantly inspired by its Chairman, Dr. Olawale Babalakin’s (SAN) vision to keep the focus on sustaining a terminal of standard to the Nigerian flying public amidst all the ongoing intrigues. BASL, in demonstration of its commitment to the use of private enterprise in the provision of public infrastructure, has fulfilled all its obligations to its partners and stakeholders despite the challenges of the environment.