FAAN begins partial closure of Enugu airport for runway repairs

  • NAMA to issue notice to ‘airmen’

 The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will today embark on palliative repairs of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Runway, Enugu.

A statement by spokeswoman for the agency, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said first phase of the repair work will commence on December 14 to 21 2017, while the second phase will be from the December 27 2017, to January 4th, 2018.

Yakubu stated that there will be skeletal operations at the airport while the work is ongoing as the runway will open for operations from 0700 hours local time till 1500 hours local time on the proposed dates.

This she said is to enable the contractor have ample day-light working hours in order to obtain stable and even Runway surface, while also completing the work within the stipulated timeframe.

Meanwhile, in line with Standards And Recommended Practices, the Authority has requested the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to issue a Notice To Air Men (NOTAM) in this regard.

Last month, the joint committee of the National Assembly on Aviation, during its visit to the airport expressed worry over the deplorable facilities of some airports in the country and declared the Akanu Ibiam Airport unsafe.

Sen. Muhammad Adamu, representing Kebbi Central, also expressed displeasure during a tour of facility of the Port Harcourt International Airport.

Adamu said that the Senate had between 2015 and 2017 appropriated funds for completion of the remodelling of airports across the country.

In a report on the state of the Enugu Airport, Adamu said the situation was worrisome and needed urgent remedial measures to protect the airport users.

Describing the airport as unsafe for airline operations, the lawmaker urged the FAAN to summon the contractors to fill the existing potholes on the runway for safety of passengers.

“What we saw in Enugu airport was very serious infrastructure decay, we saw potholes on the runway and this is very unsafe for aircraft to land”, he stated.

Adamu disclosed that some international airlines like the Emirate Airlines, had wanted to begin operations in Enugu, but couldn’t, because after inspection of the facilities, they found there was no water or operational light on the runway.

According to him, it was impossible for aircraft to land at night in Enugu airport.
The senator also revealed that despite the payment of over 40 per cent of the contract sum for the new terminal that was being funded by Chinese Bank (Exim bank), the terminal had remained in a state of decay.

He said that so far, record had shown that over N9 billion had been spent on the said terminal.

Aviation consultant and member, Aviation Round Table (ART), Grp. Captain John Ojukutu, in a petition to former Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodimma and former chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nkiruka Onyejiocha, said he was deeply worried reading through the reports on the recent oversight function of lawmakers to Enugu airport left him very sad.

He said he was particularly worried about the manner of the NASS oversight functions over the development of infrastructure in the aviation sector.

“Specifically, the statement credited to the Senate committee on aviation about the poor state of Enugu airport terminal building and the runway in particular is seriously an indictment of the NASS and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) whichever way you look at it, debate or defend it”.

Ojukutu said it was only three years ago that Enugu airport was declared as an international airport with fiat, adding that that was the time Onyejiocha was and still the chairperson of the House committee on aviation and Senator Hope Uzodinma was the chairman in the Senate and Oduah was the minister of aviation”.

Wole Shadare