By Tony Edike
ENUGUâ€”THE Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, has said that the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu which has now been closed down has further worsened the economy of the South East Zone.
President of ECCIMA, Mr. Okechukwu Nwadinobi, who made this known in Enugu yesterday, said the decision of the Federal Government to close the airport for a period of one year when the rehabilitation work is expected to last even when highways in the zone had remained in a terrible and bad state, would definitely slow down economic activities in the region.
He said that though the current effort to expand the airport and upgrade its infrastructure was commendable, the government should have considered the construction of a second runway so thatÂ the existing runway would continue to provide air services to the teeming air travelers from the five South Eastern States.
Nwadinobi, who lamented the difficulty being encountered by air travelers, businessmen and women in the area since the airport was closed down on February 10 for upgrading, said that the nearest alternative airport was more than two hours away, adding that the development was already impacting negatively on the economy of the zone.
The Federal Ministry of Aviation had said that the project if carried out according to time line would be concluded in twelve months while air travelers using the airport had been directed to patronize the International Cargo Airport Owerri for the meantime.
â€œWe call on the Federal Government, the Governors of the zone and other stakeholders to rise to the occasion and ensure that the proposed runway extension is carried out in a way that will not disrupt regular flight operations and to explore the alternative option we have humbly suggested,â€ the ECCIMA boss said.