After news broke out that works at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, which was shut down, was yet to commence due to lack of funding, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika has come out to say that N10 billion would be required to keep the airport running again.
Sirika said that the airport was closed down because of the state of the runway and other safety concerns and that there were some limitations in the Enugu airport which had been brought to the attention of the Governor of the state.
“Given the money, we have a time frame of delivering the airport before Christmas; the choice is because we understand that people travel back home during the period and we want them to find a new airport on arrival.
“We have put before government a request of N10 billion and we believe government is doing everything possible to provide the funds,” he said.
[READ MORE: FAAN commences renovation of Enugu Airport]
Other inadequacies: According to Sirika, apart from the runway, there were other issues that needed solving, which include the presence of a market close to the runway which attracted birds that could be ingested into the engine of the plane and cause safety concerns due to grains sold in the market.
He stated that the market had to be removed. Also, Sirika said that another issue was the encroachment of the airport by indigenes who converted part of the airport to residential area. He said that the airport was closed in order avert air accidents.
Speaking on the renovation, Lawmaker, Hon. Nnoli Nnaji, asked the minister what was delaying the completion of the airport. He stated that the same attention, which the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport received when it needed repairs, should be given to the Enugu airport.
He recommended that the 25% of generated revenue being remitted to the federal account by Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) should be used to develop infrastructure at the airport by the agency.
According to him, the airport, being the first point of call should have hotels and other basic infrastructure to aid business transactions.