…ask for FG’s urgent intervention
…As first international cargo plane lands in Enugu
By Dennis Agbo & By Lawani Mikairu
ENUGU—GOVERNORS of the South East geopolitical zone, yesterday, held that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, is no longer safe for landing.
Appreciating Federal Government’s earlier intervention on the airport, the governors however drew its attention to the deplorable state of the runway, the runway lights and the tarmac and called on the Minister of State for Aviation to quickly visit the airport for an on-spot assessment and urgent intervention. They also called on the Federal Government to step up the reactivation of the cargo section of the airport.
Rising from the South East Governors’ Forum, SEGF, meeting attended by three out of the five governors in the zone, the governors also took a firm position on the alleged shortchange of the zone in execution of the projects, citing the 2017 capital budget implementation as an example.
Chairman of SEGF and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi in a communique he read to the press said: “We are aware that the contract (Akanu Ibiam International Airport) was given to the company that resurfaced the tarmac but we don’t know whether the tarmac is worst on such completion of the sections. So our demand is that the minister should come with experts to look at it.
“Some of you had also travelled and on landing, you see very stiff efforts being made by the pilots to land. It is not safe for our people at all, so we have to ask the minister to please come as a matter of urgency.
“Also, there is runway light recently installed but it’s as good as nothing because the brightness is not there at all and then you have a case where as an international airport, no flight can land from 6:30pm, that’s not acceptable.
Govs’re right—Local airline
A local airline, Air Peace, which commented on the matter yesterday, said the Enugu airport “needs approach light and water to be able to take in international flights.”
“Because the ground is covered with coal, you cannot do a borehole. So FAAN wants to source water from a nearby lake. The approach light is critical, but the state government has to move the Emene market.
“ They have removed the masts that force flights to take detour immediately after take off. FAAN had already acquired the place and was to install the light when the host community intervened,” an insider who does not want to be named told Vanguard on phone yesterday.
Efforts to get Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to comment on the airport proved abortive as the spokesman of the agency told Vanguard on phone he is on his annual vacation.
…as first int’l cargo plane lands in
Meanwhile, first international cargo aircraft belonging to Ethiopian Airlines landed in Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu last week.
The Ethiopian Boeing 777-200 Freighter (Cargo) is the biggest aircraft recently acquire by Ethiopian airline group.
The Airline’s Enugu Traffic and sales manager, Mr. Solomon Mekonnen Mengistu said: “We are very pleased to see the newest aircraft, this is to show our desire to see growth of business in this all important region while joining our fast expanding freighter network across the globe.
“In line with our strategic roadmap, Vision 2025, we will keep on expanding our cargo destinations worldwide, thereby facilitating trade and economic growth among different regions of the world.”
This is coming at a time when Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu is marking 5th Anniversary of Commercial International Flights to and from SouthEast Region.
Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services currently serves over 44 international destinations in Africa, the Gulf, Middle East, Asia, the Americas and Europe, and boasts the largest trans-shipment terminal in Africa and one of the biggest ten in the world with an annual capacity of about one million tons.