FAAN MD excited about British Airways lounge at Lagos airports

DESPITE inheriting aging and decaying infrastructure across the country’s airports, the first female managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs Olubunmi Kuku has said this will not stop her management from taking the experience at the airports to the next level.

Speaking to Nigerian Tribune during the opening of the totally renovated luxu lounge by the British Airways in Lagos airport, Kuku who said her major focus is on the airport master plan, revealed an ongoing efforts to quickly do immediate rehabilitations in one wing of the Lagos airport and then a major overhaul in the other wing as the number one gateway.

Her words:”Yes, we inherited aging and decaying infrastructure but that’s still not an excuse. Our immediate plans are to start with minor modifications, we need to start with the maintenance policy first and we need to make sure that very simple things like lighting in our airports, the cooling system will start to work effectively. I also want to say that without rushing to the press our focus is on a master plan within the airport environment that we can follow.

“For Lagos airport as a whole, Lagos serves as the gateway for majority of our passengers that are coming into Nigeria, followed by Abuja, we are doing some work around our domestic terminals as we speak, with the international terminal for Lagos as we speak we are looking to quickly do some immediate rehabilitations in one wing of the airport and then a major overhaul in the other wing.

So we can use one wing in collaboration with the new international terminal that we have.  That gives us a bit of relief where our passengers will have easy access while we focus on the needed overhaul.

Speaking on what next for the airports in another one year, the FAAN MD listed where she will focus on to include: customer experience, establishment of additional E-gates at the older terminals and the integration of the airports data with that of the DSS.

“Speaking for myself and potentially the other aviation agencies as well, they are a couple of things that we as stakeholders in the industry need to provide. I spoke about customer experience being a priority. I spoke about modernisation of the industry, it’s not just about putting infrastructure in place but putting infrastructure that aligns with what is happening globally. We have a flight information display system that will be installed at our airport soon. We have additional e-gates that we are looking at to add. I know there might be some confusions because immigration is putting e-gates up from the point of entry into the country. We do have e-gates at departure that are managed by FAAN. We are making sure that some of our older terminals also have the e-gates, that way it eases the flow of passengers.

“We are also looking to integrate the data with that of the DSS and the watchlist that they have as well. I think the second is around the performance of the airlines.  Obviously the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority  along with their consumer protection directorate are supporting that. We are putting more information, more awareness out so that people understand what their rights are. We are also working closely with the airlines to make sure that they privilege timely information. We are also pleading with our passengers to also manage themselves within the airport environment, there are rules and laws that they need to abide with so that we will understand what we need to do from our end.

Speaking on the British Airways lounge, the FAAN MD said the partnership of British Airways with STS to provide the lounge demonstrated  the development that British airways is bringing to Nigeria

“Customers will be transported into a new contemporary lounge as soon as they pass through the grand entrance with floor to ceiling glass.  Following significant investment, the airline has created zones throughout the 360 square metres of space to cater for different customers’ needs.

“I walked around the lounge and I asked very simple questions from which I got very remarkable answers. A lot of the work that was done in the lounge today was done in collaboration and with Nigerian entrepreneurs. You heard about the collaboration with the gallery, a lot of the woodwork, the furniture are all using Nigerian entrepreneurs so they definitely make me proud”.

Earlier, the British Airways management had attributed reasons for providing the new lounge to its desire to make flying between the Lagos and London route more seamless to its Nigerian passengers.

The lounge which was opened to passengers’ use particularly customers travelling in Club World (business) and first, as well as Silver and Gold Executive Club Members.

The space which has been cleverly designed to give customers more room to enjoy an upgraded food and beverage experience, equally allows customers to relax, dine or work in a premium space.

To commemorate British Airways’ strong association with Nigeria, art from local artists will be displayed across the lounge even as the airline has launched a partnership with Akoje Gallery founded by Maro Itoje and Khalil Akar to curate an innovative new in-lounge exhibition featuring and celebrating guest artists.

Speaking on the development, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, Calumn Laming remarked: said: “We’re focused on investing in the entire customer journey, not just on board.  For many of our customers, lounges are an important part of their experience, and the re-design of our Lagos lounge is a key part of our transformation strategy across our lounges around the world. We’re delighted to open our doors to this stunning lounge in Lagos and we’re confident customers will enjoy spending time in this cleverly created space.”

The lounge is open to customers travelling in Club World (business) and first, as well as Silver and Gold Executive Club Members.

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