The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, which has remained shut for over one month, is now ready for commencement of flight operations, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Saleh Dunoma has said.
This is contained in a statement signed by the media consultant to the Minister of State for Aviation, Ariyo Akinfenwa, on Sunday in Lagos, adding that the runway of the airport would be ready by Monday April 17, two days ahead of the initial deadline, April 19.
“We will be ready April 17 but we are leaving the remaining two days for Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA,” the statement read.
“We have written to them and they will come by today (Sunday) to do the preliminary inspection.
They have to certify the airport that what we have done is in accordance with their standards.
“If there is any observation as a result of the inspection, we will now make sure we carry out corrections,” the FAAN boss said.
Dunoma said that the April 19 deadline for the reopening of the airport is no longer in doubt.
“All the critical items of work are 100 percent except may be two items; which of course are the markings and the cleaning.
“Asphalt work is 100 percent, markings have reached almost 70 percent and the airfield lighting system has reached 80 per cent,” the FAAN MD added.
Dunoma noted that government also utilized the opportunity of the airport closure to fix other Airport Excellence in Safety, APEX, related issues.
He said: “We are now levelling all the airfield lightings’ locations, all the installations and flash with the ground surface.
“In case of any skidding, there will not be concrete projection above the ground surface.”
“The runway does not need calibration. All we need to check is to make sure there is 100 per cent illumination.
“Calibration is done periodically. When the time come for calibration, the appropriate authority will calibrate the Instrument Landing System (ILS),”he said.
Recall that the Abuja airport was shut on March 8 for six weeks to enable the overhauling of its runway which the Minister of State for Petroleum,
Hadi Sirika, said had completely failed.
The runway, which was constructed in 1982 was meant to last for 20 years, but had been in use for 35 years without major repairs and maintenance.
There were series of opposition during the debate about the airport closure, especially regarding the decision to use the Kaduna Airport as an alternative, but the Minister had insisted that works on the Abuja airport runway will be completed in record time.
So far, it has been a smooth exercise getting Abuja air travellers to Kaduna to board their flights and getting them back to Abuja after their flight must have landed in Kaduna.