I have been to the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport severally and seen it much closely during the hajj airlifting operations, where Fariah Suites Bauchi, has airport hospitality stands at both the Local and International departure lounges.
Overland being the most frequent user of the airport has become king, like the one eye in the land of the blind. A close look at the arrival, departure, protocol and offices, gives you a sense of a very small airport. But the parking lot and ample Space housing the airport reminds you of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja during the days of before the entre’ Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida to Abuja from Lagos.
As a lead Member of the Sheraton team that:- 1. Started the Sheraton Airport Hospitality Stand; 2. Did the preopening House Keeping / Cleaning Operations at the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport; 3. Serviced the Airport’s Presidential Lounge and Chalets; I see a re-enactment of yesterday in bauchi.
With a hind sight, the Government and people of Bauchi State can and should stay focussed on the vision of the past administration for the Airport. I will opine, personally, as a domiciled Nigerian Citizen in the state, that development is faster with well linked communication of which any air linkage is a plus.
What will it take Bauchi to excel amongst it’s equals? What does Bauchi have that the others do not? How can Bauchi synerge it’s energies to ensure the airport has increased man traffic and business? What else can the Airport do to make it a place for all comers?
I might be wrong, but coming from Samaru Zaria, where we have housed the Aviation School, that trained the very best of our yesterdays Nigerian Airways Pilots and so many others, I feel increasingly part of this dream in bauchi. I remember mentors and ‘’yayas’’, Like Capt. Moses Bala Gowon, Capt Shettimma Abba Gana, Capt Shaffa, Capt. Nugu Bahago, Capt, Hussiani, Capt. Ayodele, Muyiwa Deru, Capt. Kennedy, amongst others, gentlemen to the core. They became father figures to us during our days in Sheraton. Nigeria is bloated with experts minds, hearts, hands and heads, that we can utilise to bring down the harvests we have for long dreamt and cried for. Forgive my drift, what do we need to ensure Bauchi Airport is optimally used?
Kwara has done well starting an Aviation school in Ilorin. GEJ should have contracted them and NCAC Zaria for the training of amnestied militants, than the export of billions in needed hard currencies for solutions we have needing patronage at home. What can Bauchi State Government do?
I will list possibilities and allow the experts to think of the whys, how’s and whens.
1. A maintenance airport, will come handy for many airlines in and around the North, Chad, Niger, Cameroun and even Southern Sudan.
2. Ground support staff training, with the needed local man power for the industry at home and abroad, NIHOTOUR, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi State University, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, can be enticed to start, Internationally accredited training and services in the Areas of Airline Catering; Cleaning; Tourism Operations, Airline Ticketing and Sales / Marketing. Airline Communication or is it Air Tower Management and Ground support.
3. Dry Cargo Port to cater for the North Eastern Axis
4. Aerial Study / Tourism / Photography centre. Hadejia RIver Basin, Chad region, the Manbilla plateau, Yankari, Sumo and Lame parks will have persons studying or leisure seeing the wildlife/relief from the air.
5. Increased air link with Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Taraba, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Katsina and Lagos, servicing the North Eastern Region.
6. Have a Presidential Wing and restructure the Yankari to serve as a Camp David for Presidents and Diplomats ECOWAS can be the first source of business.
7. With the hopeful end of insurgency in the North East, issue of health cannot be over emphasised. Bauchi Airport can be modelled to also house Air Ambulatory Service for the evacuation and transit of health related cases.
8. Entertainment and Film Industry, the Terrain in Bauchi State has numerous reliefs that can be used as site/locations for local, national and international filming and music production. The industry can be enticed to use facilities including the Airport for shooting of films and musical videos.
9. Warehouses for Businesses. This will ease logistics for the North East and Chad basin.
10. Private Jets/aircraft Sleep overs and parking lot. Reservation / Marketing Hub.
11. Aviation Fuel Port. Reduce the tariff/taxes, make Aviation fuel available and cheaper for Aircrafts.
12. Airforce Base or Air Surveillance base. Especially now that the insurgency in the North East needs a lot of air support and we have the needed resource in the various arms of Security to assist make such possible.
The list can go on and on, I stop here with the hope that the stakeholders are made to think towards increasing the relevance of this International Airport named after the Very First Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Have a wonderful Weekend.
Consultant (Marketing) Fariah Suites Bauchi Nigeria.