The runway at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu State is yet to see any rehabilitation one month after Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation gave assurances that work is on-going.
Henrietta Yakubu, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), who confirmed the development to the NAN said work was yet to commence at the airport.
“Work is yet to begin on the runway but it will soon, once the processes are concluded,” she said.
In an interview on Channels Television on September 12, Sirika said that work was ongoing and if there was sufficient funding to complete repairs to the dilapidated runway, the Federal government intended to open it before the Christmas celebration commenced.
“Work is ongoing. If everything is equal and we get all of the funding, we intend to open it before Christmas. Work does not necessarily mean the bringing of equipment into the airport to begin the reconstruction of that particular airport or runway; work entails the planning, mobilising people for work and the actual work itself. The planning is even more important than the work itself because when you plan very well, you succeed.
“This runway closed itself because it actually failed and we kept trying to get it to function very well but it kept failing on a daily basis. We were very afraid that what happened in Port Harcourt many years ago could happen on this runway because in Port Harcourt, it was failing and the then ministry of aviation was doing the best they could to keep the runway safe, but unfortunately, the runway started to fail like mad and when Air France landed, it got stuck. It took two years and a half to get the runway back to function properly.
“Every airport will have its maintenance programme with the facility management and then set things in place now so as to be able to do maintenance as at when due and if it needs total resurfacing and reconstruction; we would do all of that,” Sirika said.
Following regulatory framework to shut down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, the Federal government announced in May that the airport would be closed and domestic flights would be diverted to the Owerri Cargo Airport while international flights would be diverted to Port Harcourt.
The Federal government through the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), issued a shutdown date for August 24, 2019, for the rehabilitation of the runway and upgrade of its facilities to international standard.