By SundiataPOST, Abuja
After commencing commercial flight operations on July 13, 2011, the Asaba Airport has handled 6,331 flights and 192,651 passengers at the end of October 2013. This is aside from the 18 flights and 63 passengers handled before commercial flights began bring total operational results to 6,349 flights and 192,714 passengers.
With an average of 260 flights and 6,880 passengers recorded monthly, Asaba Airport has become one of the busiest and viable airports in the country. The month of April 2011 when the Delta State capital hosted the Second South South Economic Summit recorded the highest flight of 401 while its 9,588 passengers was second to the 9,778 recorded in August 2013.
Unveiling the airport’s performance report in Asaba, the Delta State capital on Sunday, Mr. Chike C. Ogeah, the State Commissioner for Information, said the return is unprecedented for a new airport and is only the beginning of the stunning growth of the airport.
“Many people who did not see the vision of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan when he initiated the project in 2008 derided it as a ruse. Today, the status of the airport as ultra-modern with full navigational instruments has been confirmed by the landing on Wednesday November 13 of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential jet at 11.30am on his way to Anambra State”, Ogeah stated.
He said Asaba Airport was conceived as a strategic economic platform to open up not just Delta State but the neighbouring states in the south east to the global business community, noting that with its designation as a cargo airport, it will become a hub for the export of agricultural and manufactured goods in the near future.
“In deciding to build the airport in Asaba, Governor Uduaghan envisioned it as part of a concerted plan that involved the dualisation of the Ughelli-Asaba Road to link the seaports in Warri and Koko to the major commercial outposts in Onitsha and other towns in Anambra State,” Ogeah said, adding that “today Asaba Airport has become the preferred destination for air travelers in Anambra and Imo states”.
Asaba Airport is currently serviced by Arik Air which operates Boeing 737 planes and Overland Airways who pioneered scheduled commercial flights from the airport. Daily flights linking Lagos and Abuja are operated by the two airlines. Other airlines are gearing up to open more routes from the airport. The length of the runway is 3.4 kilometres, one of the few highest in the country, and can accommodate the Boeing 747 plane and other long range aircraft.