By Lawani Mikairu
All flights to Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu will be diverted to Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri , following the closure of Enugu Airport for comprehensive repair works.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Governor of Ebonyi State and chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum, Mr. Dave Umahi, in a communiqué read at the end of a stakeholders’ meeting held with the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in Enugu.
Governor Umahi also said the Minster assured the southeast governors that the repair works at the Enugu Airport will be carried out by two sets of contractors to ensure speedy completion by December 2019.
According to Umahi: “The honourable Minister of Aviation has assured us that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport will be reconstructed to meet the Abuja International Airport standard, the runway shall be reconstructed and extended, and the landing equipment shall be replaced with a better night landing light installation and he has assured that the work will go on day and night and it must be completed before December 2019″.
“Other works like the cargo section, extension of the tarmac, buildings that were damaged by rain storm are also in the package”.
“He has assured us also that two sets of contractors are pinned down for any of them to be used like Julius Berger as we requested and P&W but in the weeks ahead we will be asking him that we have a choice of Julius Berger”.
He further said “Palliative measures are been arranged and the southeast governors will have a committee with Minister of Aviation and Minister of Works to discuss on the palliative measures”.
“We are very committed , as southeast governors, to the safety of our people, for the convenience of our people, to ease all inconveniences and these we are going to do. Some states have already started and some states will also follow. And in the next one week we will totally roll out our palliative measures and we assure our people of their safety”.
“On Sam Mbakwe Airport, the honourable minister said they had already met and a number of facelift will be given like the barbed wire, the tarmac, the buildings; they are all going to be given facelift, where most of these planes will be diverted to and we are very happy with that”.
“South East governors have already set up security committee, we shall inaugurate them today, one per state and they will play major role with our security chiefs and also play role in this airport closure and diversion of flights.”
In his remarks, the Aviation Minister said that the repair works would be completed before December.
He said : “This airport is one of the five international airports that we have. I want to assure you that we will take all the seriousness that it deserves and we should be able to deliver this project, all things being equal, before Christmas.
“We are conscious and aware of the hardships that you might go through but I believe it is worth it in the interest of safety and the committee that has been formed will discuss the palliative and we will also discuss the arrangement and planning,” Sirika said