MINISTER of Aviation, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze said yesterday that the Federal government has not accorded the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu an international status.
She, however, assured the people of the South East geopolitical zone that the present administration of Goodluck Jonathan was committed to the internationalization of the airport saying the on going expansion work at the airport was part of governmentâ€™s plan to elevate its status.
The Minister, who disclosed this after inspecting the airport project, said the airport which was shut in the last four months to enable the contractor PW Limited expand its runway to accommodate heavy aircrafts, would be competed before the end of October this year.
She said that the government was determined to ensure that quality job was done at the airport, adding thatÂ the government was also committed to ensure that the time line set out by the contractor was realized.
Njeze, said that though an undisclosed amount had been budgeted for the on going expansion work, certain discoveries made during the execution so far revealed theÂ need for additional funds so as to realize the scope and quality of work needed.
She pointed at a chemical substance discovered on a rocky hill at the site, stressing that when the substance was tested, it was discovered to be dissolving on contact with water, a situation that has posed fresh challenges to the project.
â€œThey discovered that the rock there is hard and when they conducted test on the substance, it was discovered to be dissolving in water. So the implication is that, at any time water touches that part, it will continue to dissolve. So this is one of the challenges, which we must overcome in this site to enable us realize the project,â€ the Minister said.
The Minister, who further inspected other wings of the airport, expressed satisfaction with the scope and quality of work so far done by the contractors, even as she charged them to improve on the effort.
Njeze, was however, sad with the level of dilapidation at the various departments of the airport, saying there was need for total overhaul of the apparatus of the airport to enable it meet international standard.