Air travellers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday cried out about charges for hiring trolleys to convey luggage at the domestic and international terminals.
The travellers condemned the high charges, saying that it was exorbitant to pay N300 for the use of a trolley at the domestic terminal and N500 at the international terminal.
The air passengers argued that the trolley fee should have been included in the ticket charges, rather than having their operation concessioned to a private company by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Mrs Gloria Okenwa, an Emirates Airline passenger from Dubai, said that she paid N1, 000 to hire two trolleys for her luggage.
She lamented that she had paid a passenger service charge, which she expected to have included charges for the use of the trolleys.
“We always paid the passenger service charge before boarding and I expected that the hiring fee for the trolleys should have been included in the service charge.
“The money the airport authorities are collecting from us is too much. These trolleys should be free, as they used to be. However, I don’t usually use it if I am flying within the country,’’ she said.
Mrs Lydia Omotosho, a London-bound traveller, said that Nigeria was the only country where the trolleys had been commercialised.
Omotosho said that passengers had free access to trolleys in the U.K., as well as in South African airports.
“Foreign airport authorities usually included the trolley charges in their ticket charges, so, trolleys are used free of charge at many airports,’’ she said.
Mr Christopher Briggs, a Port Harcourt-bound businessman, told NAN that he had not been using trolleys because the distance between the arrival and departure halls and the car park was less than 15 metres.
He said that the trolleys were mainly provided for women because most ladies, unlike the men, might not be too keen on carrying their luggage.
The General Manager (Public Affairs) of FAAN, Mr Akin Olukunle, however, said that hiring the trolleys was a matter of choice.
Olukunle said that the service was not peculiar to Nigerian airports, and that foreign airports also charge fees for the use of the facility.
“It is a matter of choice. It is not compulsory to use them. You have to pay if you use them and you do not need to pay, if you do not.
“Paying for such service is not out of order because you will find similar practices in other airports across the world. It is not peculiar to Nigeria,” he said.
Olukunle said that the service used to be free in the past, but FAAN had to concession it out as a means of generating revenue.
“We had to concession some services to be able to meet international best practices and to also enable FAAN to upgrade and maintain the terminals,” he said.
The general manager, however, declined to disclose the revenue generated from the trolleys in 2011, saying that the commercial department of the agency was in the best position to do so.
On the allegation that the trolleys now littered the terminals, Olukunle said any question on this should be directed at the terminal managers, “particularly for the MMA2, which belongs to a private company”