By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos – An aviation expert, Capt. Dele Ore, has advised the Federal Government to start the construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Ore, former President of the Aviation Round Table (ART), gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said having a second runway at the Abuja airport would spare the nation the embarrassment caused by the closure of the airport to rehabilitate its only runway which was completed on Monday.
“We should be reminded that what brought us to this is the refusal of the government to listen to what ART and my humble self have been saying for the past 12 years that there should be a second runway.
“It does not matter if it is going to be across this one, parallel to it or perpendicular to it, but there is a need for a second runway and there is no way we can avoid it if we do not want to embarrass ourselves.
“This new runway could be disabled for any reason that makes it unusable. So, we should not be jubilant but commence immediately with the same team, Julius Berger, that has proven very competent to be invited.
“They should give the necessary quotation and work should commence now on the second runway to avoid future embarrassment.”
He, however, commended the Federal Government and the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, for completing the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport runway ahead of schedule.
According to him, Nigeria should avoid the situation where a runway will degenerate to such an extent in future.
He said Nigeria should imbibe maintenance culture, adding that the rehabilitation was properly executed by the contractor to last not lesser than 10 years.
NAN reports that the Abuja airport was shut on March 8 for six weeks to enable the contractor complete rehabilitation of the 3.6 kilometres runway.
The runway, which was constructed in 1982, was meant to last for 20 years, but had been in use for 35 years without major repair and proper maintenance.