NIGERIA: Bi-Courtney Bids For International Airports, Seeks Right Of First Refusal

The Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) has expressed readiness to take over any of the four international airport terminals slated for concession by the Federal Government.

Chairman of BASL, Dr. Wale Babalakin, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen at the Murtala Muhammad Airport terminal two MMA2 under the BASL’s purview said the firm was qualified to take over the airports listed for concession.

This is just as Babalakin expressed readiness for out-of-court settlement to resolve the lingering tussle over the concession of the MMA2.

Daily Trust reports that the Federal Government had advertised airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt for concession.

But Babalakin whose firm has been in charge of managing a section of the MMA local terminal concessioned to it over 15 years ago amidst controversy with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over the terms of the concession stressed that BASL should be considered as a preferred bidder for the concession of the airports based on its wealth of experience in airport management.

Babalakin explained that as a company with experience in terminal management and capacity, Bi-Courtney should have been given the right of first refusal, stressing that if given the right to participate, the company would change the face of terminals in the country.

He said: “There is a bid going on for the four international terminals. In other countries where due process is done, the authorities will call on those who have done it before. But what is the success rate of the companies coming to Nigeria to operate? How can the government bring expertise from overseas when you have them locally?

“BASL is interested in anything that is intellectual infrastructure development. I am a lawyer and an infrastructure developer. We are interested in the concession; in fact we should be the first option because in organised countries, we would be given a first option offer.”

Babalakin disclosed that BASL has been approached by three African countries to build their terminals.

“I think it will be better to consult those who have track records. Before MMA2, nobody talked about terminals but after the completion of MMA2, Bauchi and Dutse now have terminals and I think Anambra State is planning to have one. We have succeeded immensely as an eye opener to aviation infrastructure development in Nigeria,” he added.

Babalakin, who expressed regret over the controversy trailing the MMA2 concession, said he was not against out-of-court settlement as long as it is fair to all parties.

He explained that there was no controversy over the 36 years of concession of the terminal, saying the entire General Aviation Terminal (GAT) belongs to BASL by law.

“The GAT was handed over to us by the government but it at the same time, decided to enhance it and compete with us. The worst that can happen to an investor is for your competitor to have government money to compete and it is totally wrong for the authority to be competing.

“We have won the case at the Arbitration, High Court, Appeal Court and at Supreme but the Authority is not just undermining the whole process but demarketing Nigeria. We have agreed on everything but the only issue is GAT. We can’t let go because it is part of our concession agreement. It is unfortunate that people are just making mockery of Nigeria’s jurisprudence,” he added.


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