Posted by Olusegun Koiki | 18 August 2019 | 1,035 times
After over a year of the plan to shut down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for the reconstruction of its runway and installation of airfield lighting, the Federal Government has finally rolled out plans to close the airport.
This is as Mr. Allen Onyema, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace said the shutting down of the airport was long overdue as it raised several safety concerns.
The Federal Government through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said that the airport would be closed next Saturday, August 24, 2019, at 00:00.
A statement by Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN said that the agency had notified all stakeholders of the planned closure.
The government did not, however, state when the airport would be re-opened for flight operations.
Only Ethiopian Airlines operated scheduled flights to the airport, but the airline suspended flight services to the airport a few months ago.
The statement said: “The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) hereby notifies airlines, passengers and all other stakeholders that effective 00:00 on August 24, 2019, the runway at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu will be closed for major repairs and works on the airfield.
“This move is aimed at resolving the existing safety/security concerns to flight operations. A date to reopen the runway will be communicated in due course.”
Commenting on the closure, Onyema said the runway had given airline operators serious safety concerns in recent time.
He, however, lauded the Federal Government for the audacious move to close the runway, stressing that this would allow proper repair and maintenance of the airport’s runway.
He insisted that Air Peace was fully and totally in support of the decision to shut the airport, but noted that the decision would affect the travelling public and the airline operators.
He added: “We place the safety of the flying public, our crew and equipment above any commercial benefits. The government should go all out to put everything in place, within the period of the closure, that would make the airport rank among the best international airports in the country.
“We plead with the Federal Government to make the airport a 24-hour flight operations airport by improving the night landing infrastructure.”
He further commended the government for the appointment of Captain Hamisu Yadudu as the Managing Director of FAAN, saying that his appointment was a testimony to the Federal Government’s resolve to put result-driven persons at the helm of its agencies.
He explained that his coming, airlines have started enjoying the services that would definitely improve the standards in the industry and lauded President Mohammadu Buhari for his resolve to attend to the infrastructural decay in the industry.
It would be recalled that Enugu Airport had been in the news for over a year over the poor runway layout and the closeness of a major market to it.
The government had said that illegal structures along the runway path made it impossible for the airport to operate night operations.
The government also said that all the Instrument Landing Systems (ILSs) and lighting systems were already procured, ready for installation, but could not be deployed until the runway path was cleared of the structures. (Independent)
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