By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – Mr Saleh Dunoma, Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), says the Nigerian aviation has recorded milestone achievements within three years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Dunoma identified safety and security as some of the areas that received priority attention in the industry.
The managing director told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that some other major milestones were recorded with the complete rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport runway within six weeks.
“A lot of things have been achieved in the last three years but first of all our concern is safety and security.
“Safety starts from the runway and a lot has been on our runway especially at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja runway.
“You are aware that this airport is a single runway airport and it is very critical because it has to be operational all the time.
“We have been having problem all this while, but during this administration, the government took a decision and sort out this problem ones and for all.
“It was closed for six weeks and maintenance was done on the pavement and the associated pavement which is the runway to improve the safety of the airport and that was done within time and within budget.
“Not only in Abuja but we have also done some works on Enugu runway, Port Harcourt runway, Benin Airport runway, Kaduna runway.
“These are some of the things that has to do with safety to improve the safety of operations into our airports.’’
In the area of security, the FAAN boss disclosed that the Buhari administration approved and facilitated a special training of Aviation Security (AVSEC) on counter-terrorism, which was conducted by the United Nations (UN).
He said that the training had enhanced the capability of AVSEC personnel across Nigerian airports leading to the approval by the government for AVSEC personnel to begin to carry arms.
Dunoma stated that two Nigerian airports – Abuja and Lagos – were able to receive aerodrome certification for the first time in 2017.
He said the certification was a result of compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety and security standards.
He disclosed that the authority was committed to ensuring that all Nigerian airports were certified.
According to him, FAAN is currently working on the airports in Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kaduna.
“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, it is under this administration that we were able to certify two of our airports and three are being certified for now.
“Certification means that you have complied with all the Nigerian civil aviation standards and then the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards in terms of security and safety.
“so, these two airports, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and Abuja airports are compliant now, they are certified and now, we are working on kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kaduna airports.
“We will do the international airports and I am sure that in the next one year, these four airports will be done and then we will continue with the domestic airports.
“This is also a big achievement because there ere are only few countries in Africa that have certified airports.
“So, Nigeria is the first to have two of its airports certified and it is the courtesy of this administration because this certification process started 11 years ago but we couldn’t achieve anything.
“But during this administration, we were able to achieve two and four are in the pipeline.’’