TAV Airports CEO Serkan Kaptan expects international traffic in Nigeria and Central Africa to “boom” over the coming years, which is prompting the airport operator to expand its operations to the region.
The Turkish company, part-owned by Groupe ADP, was in October named by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as the preferred bidder to operate and develop the international passenger and cargo terminals at Lagos Airport (LOS) over a 20-year period.
Speaking at GAD World in Amsterdam, Kaptan said: “We are now expecting to sign a concession agreement with the Nigerian government. Lagos is important because it’s in West Africa but in the centre [of the continent].
“The population is growing rapidly, and international traffic is very low. Over the next decades, we expect Nigeria and Central Africa to boom so that is why we have targeted Lagos.”
Lagos Airport served 6.1 million passengers in 2021, of which 1.6 million were international passengers. This compares to a total of 7.6 million in 2019, with 3.2 million of those on international flights. The population of Nigeria is about 211 million—about 15.4 million of which live in Lagos.
TAV Airports has been named preferred bidder for the concession as part of a consortium that includes Nahco Management Services and Planet Project. Lagos will represent the company’s first foray in Africa—it currently operates 15 airports across Turkey, Tunisia, Georgia, North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Croatia and Kazakhstan.
Nigeria’s government has been attempting to privatize the country's four main airports by concession for several years. As well as selecting TAV Airports for the Lagos concession, FAAN has also announced a consortium led by Corporación América Airports as the preferred bidder for the Abuja (ABV) and Kano (KAN) airport concessions. However, no preferred bidder has been selected for Port Harcourt (PHC).
Kaptan said that the TAV Airports-led consortium’s planned investment would total more than $200 million and help to further Lagos’ potential as a hub for West Africa.
The company’s planned expansion into Nigeria comes less than two years after TAV Airports became majority owner of Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan, alongside its associated fuel and catering businesses. Almaty is the first airport in the group’s portfolio that is owned, rather than managed through a time-limited concession.
TAV Airports reported operating revenues of €340.9 million ($333 million) for the third quarter to Sept. 30, up from €199.8 million during the same period a year ago.