By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
THE new terminal building under construction at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with a sitting capacity of 1, 000 is 50 percent completed.
The Project Manager of VKS Nigeria, the company handling the construction of the terminal building, Mr. Onur Uzel who disclosed this, weekend at the construction site, said the lockdown occasioned by outbreak of COVID-19 delayed the project initially scheduled for completion, December, 2021.
He however assured that the project standing on 30,000square meters land would be completed in the next 10 to 12 months, as Turkey, where some of the materials for the construction was sourced from, recently removed the restriction on movement occasioned by the pandemic.
“The construction of the terminal building is 50 percent completed. It is going to be the first of its kind in Nigeria. We are going to use the latest technology not only in terms of the Mechanical and electrical, but also smart VHS handling system, advanced VGL ducking system.
“We have done a lot of work in Europe and Africa, but I am sure that this would be the most amazing one when we finish. It will be a landmark not only for the State but for Nigeria.”, Uzel said.
Also speaking, Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Okpolupum Etteh who expressed state government approval at the quality and speed of delivery of work, assured that the project would be completed middle of 2022 and inaugurated in December of the same year.
Etteh said the building which is designed after Istanbul’s latest Airport in Turkey, will process a minimum of one million passengers a year.
“You know, even when you finish, you still need one or two months to test run all the electrical facilities before handing over. Virtually every thing here is going to be automated, even the lifts, the escalators. That is what makes this building a smart building.
“The building is divided into two, one way is domestic, the other way is International. The airport will soon begin International flights operations within the subregion once the aircraft purchased for that purpose arrives the state.
” We are hoping that the airport will translate to a hub for aviation operations in the subregion, with the completion of the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), the taxi-way and other ongoing projects. We have the Immigration, we have the Customs, we have everything you have in an international airport.
“We are looking at it becoming a regional hub, so there is going to be a lot of employment here, and there will be a lot of revenue for the Akwa Ibom State government. Aviation is one investment that will bring so much revenue to the state, that is why we just procured two more brand new aircraft that is about to arrive,”, Etteh stated.
Responding to a question on the uncompleted 14- storey Hotel project situated in the Tropicana Entertainment Complex, Uyo, Etteh, disclosed that about four investors have indicated interest in the project, including China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
“Currently, we have three to four investors that are interested in that hotel, but the onus is on the government to choose the one who would be able to invest and sustain that particular business. So in the next two to three months, we will have an investor to the hotel. We are doing due diligence to choose an investor that we know will handle the project”
Until recently, when Governor Udom Emmanuel commissioned a ‘Market Square”, within the Shopping mall complex, only the cinema was functioning at the Tropicana complex started by the last administration.