The Federal Government has indicated intentions to bar the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from handling international operations as a result of safety concerns.
According to the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, the airport’s runway must be expanded while the free trade zone, market and radio mast situated very close to the runway, contrary to international safety standard, should be relocated if the airport must continue operations as an international airport.
Speaking at the 6th Aviation Stakeholders Forum in Lagos on Friday, the Minister, however, acknowledged ongoing efforts to address the challenges.
“We have some issues there and I have met the governor three times to discuss the issue.
“As you approach Enugu, there is a market there, there is an abattoir and at the end of the runway, there is a free trade zone and as you know, Enugu is the Kaduna of the east.
“A lot of passengers from the Eastern part of the country travel through Enugu airport.
Sirika assured of government’s commitment to completing all ongoing projects across Nigerian airports before the end of the year.
READ ALSO: No Casualties in Owerri Airport Fire – FAAN
He also assured that government would ensure that Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu airports obtained the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, certification.
According to him, the new terminal projects in Lagos and Kano would be completed before the end of the year, though the Lagos project would be delivered earlier.
The minister acknowledged that the Lagos airport had been over-stretched over the years due to the increasing number of passengers that travel through the airport.
He noted that the airport was initially designed and built for 200,000 people but now accommodates and processes 8 million passengers.
Sirika, who disclosed that the Buhari-led administration had completed 130 of the 157 projects it initiated in aviation sector within three years said agencies like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) had recorded a lot of progress during the period.