Minister of Aviation Mrs. Stella Odua
By Seriki Adinoyi
As part of the remodelling exercise going on across the nation’s aviation industry, the Ministry of Aviation has disclosed that it is strategising to get 30 more aircraft as a deliberate intervention to make air fare cheaper and affordable to the common man, and aviation business more profitable to the nation.
General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Yakubu Dati, who disclosed these in Jos, the Plateau State capital, while inspecting construction works going on at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, added that the ministry is also considering Aerotropolis, where cities would be built around airports; such that hotels and conference halls are built around the airports to cater for accommodation and business meetings.
He added the airports would therefore no longer be terminal points only but places where economic activities would thrive.
Dati said the various improvement that have been seen with the remodelling exercise is in consonance with the order received by the Minister of Aviation Mrs. Stella Odua from the President to bring back the aviation to where it rightly belongs, and to put Nigeria on the map of aviation by restructuring, renovating and remodelling most of the airports, after which five new international airports would be built.
He said most of the airports which were built about 30 years ago have seen deterioration and lost touch with the recent modernisation in the world of aviation, adding that the remodelling is a deliberate intervention to bring in new investors.
Dati added that the Jos airport will be specially equipped with facilities to preserve perishable cargoes, having been chosen as one of the six airports designated as terminals for perishable and non-perishable goods.
He said the choice of Jos was in consideration of its great potentials in terms of agriculture: “We have a land that is good for growing most agricultural products like apples, and our people here are mostly farmers, and we look at a situation where farmers can bring their products to this terminal and fly them out to Germany, America, and Europe. That in itself will empower the farmers and strengthen the economy and increase our GDP as a nation.”
Going round the project, Dati said “the capacity of the Departure Lounge is 350, Arrival Lounge is 250, and the VIP is 150 to 200, and there are about 24 toilets, 17 restaurants and large bars.”
The site engineer, Wasiu Lawal, who conducted tour round the project in the company of the Airport Manager, Mr. Jim Opotu assured that with adequate fund, the work will be completed in no distant time.