Imo Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has called on the Federal Government to collaborate with the state to complete the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri.
The governor stated this when he received the Managing Director of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu.
He also urged the people of the state to assist the leadership of FAAN on the standardisation of the airport to enhance the economic activity of the state.
“The Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport Owerri is commercially viable and attracts traffic. It has the potential of doing better if more attention is paid in standardising the existing infrastructure, including the insurance policy around the airport.
“I have always believed that the aviation sector must be encouraged to run professionally. The industry is not what people think it is in terms of funding, which is the reason for government intervention. The issue of runway, perimeter fencing, aircraft parking lot, taxing way, security and insurance are indices that those who frequently fly take into consideration before buying tickets and not just having a good terminal building.”
The governor said as chairman of the seventh Senate Committee on Aviation, he played a key role in the development of a roadmap on the reform of the aviation industry.
Yadudu appealed to the state government to assist in the upgrade of the facilities at the airport, just as it stressed the need for the completion of the international cargo airport, which he said would not only create employment for thousands of youths in the area, but would also bring development to the state.
The state government’s delegation was led by Commissioner for Special Projects, Simon Ebegbulem, who supervises the airport project.
He said the state would become the commercial gateway for markets in the South-East rather than its overdependence on other airports, if the airport is completed to operate at its uptime capacity.