From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Abuja
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi, has said cargo and commercial airports are not feasible for some states of the Federation.
Senator Adeyemi also disclosed that his committee has since found out that eight states have had to solicit the Federal Government’s takeover in taking over their airports; over non-profitability.
Rather than build new airports, Adeyemi said what the states need are airstrips which are cost-effective in construction and maintenance.
The committee chairman disclosed this to Daily Sun, in Abuja,at the weekend.
Said Adeyemi: ““In many nations of the world that I’ve visited, airstrips have landing facilities…A cargo airport is another ball game entirely. The cargo airports in Anambra and Ogun states are for good purposes. Investment in airports should be result-oriented.
“The Uli-Okija airstrip is good because it will open up the Nnewi Anambra axis and the entire South-East more when we have an aircraft that could take about 50 passengers to take off and land, to the hinterland.
“Whether an airport is having a terminal of N19 billion or N20 billion does not matter. What matters is that it must have a good landing facility. If we have a good runway for an airstrip, it may not be able to accommodate a Boeing series but it could accommodate a shuttle flight of 50 passengers, which is okay.
“I never condemned investment in airports by states. A cargo airport is targeted at export and import of goods and services while commercial airports are meant for investors to move round states. Cargo airports are even cheaper to build.
“If you have a good airstrip, it will not consume more money as ,icy as you want to build a cargo airport. Cargo airports is not for many states but it is needed if there are economic and commercial potentials there.
In Ogun, the cargo airport would be viable because there are many companies there that would patronise the facility.
“As at today, six states are requesting the FG to come and take over their airports because the cost of maintenance is high.
“Aviation is key to the economy but what we need in many states are just airstrips and terminals, for planes to land…”
This was just as the committee also approved N71 billion as the Aviation ministry’s 2022 budget and has submitted same to the Committee on Appropriations last Friday, for inclusion into the federal budget