The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said at the weekend that it has commenced the rehabilitation works at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport runway in Enugu.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed the development to newsmen in Lagos yesterday said the exercise had finally begun at the airport ahead of the December 2019 deadline set for the completion of the runway repairs and other civil renovation works.
FAAN had on August 24, announced the closure of the airport, which is the only international airport in the South East region, for the reconstruction of its runway and shortly after, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced that work had begun on the runway.
In an interview on Channels Television on September 12, Sirika said that work was ongoing and if there was sufficient funding to complete the repairs of the dilapidated runway, the Federal Government would open it before the Christmas celebration commences.
“Work is ongoing. If everything goes as planned and we get all of the funding, we intend to reopen it before Christmas. Work does not necessarily mean the bringing of equipment into the airport to begin the reconstruction of that particular airport or runway; work entails the planning, mobilising people for work and the actual work itself. The planning is even more important than the work itself because when you plan very well, you succeed,” Sirika said.
But on September 26, FAAN contradicted the minister, saying that work had not commenced because they were waiting for the approval of funds. The agency has however now confirmed that work has indeed commenced on the runway.
The Federal Government FAAN issued a shutdown date of August 24, 2019 for rehabilitation of the runway and upgrade of its facilities to international standard. It said that the airport will be closed and domestic flights will be diverted to the Owerri Cargo Airport, while international flights would be diverted to Port Harcourt.