The Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu will reopen for commercial activities on August 30th.
The airport was closed on August 24th, 2019 for the rehabilitation of the runway and upgrade of other infrastructure to meet international standards.
The government had initially fixed April as the date for the reopening of the airport but it blamed the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country and the onset of rain for the delay.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, however, noted that the project was 90-95percent completed.
Sirika who spoke after inspecting the progress of work at the airport on Tuesday said: “We wanted to make a quick intervention in this procurement to ensure that the once dilapidated runway that was a threat to the safety of our operations have been dealt with.
“We were on course but unfortunately COVID came and the workers took to their heels to ensure that they remain safe. We are back on site and we have made a tremendous amount of progress.
“We are about 90 to 95 percent completing this job. However, the final wearing course is where we are on the runway while the perimeter fencing and the road is going on and other works including airfield lighting for day and night operations and for it to truly answer its name; Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu.”
He continued: “The season now is the rainy season and just like COVID, the rainy season is also a monster in the procurement of this nature but the contractor, the consultants are doing extremely well and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria who is a client and I am happy with the progress of work. I am very confident that this procurement will be delivered on the 30th August 2020.
This, of course, is with the due consideration to the weather but with the help of God, we will deliver this procurement on 30th of August for use with most of the associated works.”
Speaking on the quality of the runway to be delivered, the minister said: “I can say authoritatively that this runway is one of the best if not the best in the country at the moment. The turning pad of this runway is made of concrete unlike our other airports where the turning pads are made of asphalt and they don’t take the beating that we give to them due to the weight of the aircraft but this one is made of concrete.”
He also hinted that a cargo terminal would be constructed before 2023.
“We will be setting up other things that will generate economic activities around the city including the cargo terminal that we are about to start and finish within the life of this administration.
“Also, the Chinese terminal is about 60percent completed and we will make sure that it is also delivered as soon as we can.”