By Chinedu Eze
The federal government has said that the new terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja would start operation in October.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, who said the terminal would be put to use in order to decongest the old terminal, which is now overstretched due to increase in passenger traffic.
Dunoma who spoke after President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the rail terminus that connects the airport to the Abuja light rail system, said that by the end of August work would be concluded at the new terminal and it would be opened for service.
The FAAN boss said the major work to be done would be to connect the new terminal to the old one in order to have seamless passenger movement; although the new terminal is designated for travellers on international destinations.
“We are pressing the contractor to finish everything in August so that by October we can start operation in the building. So we are working together, both the contractor, FAAN and all those involved in the project to ensure we meet our target.,” he said.
He said the structures which inhibit the use of the new terminal like the fire service building located very close to the facility and the control tower, blocked by the terminal, would be removed in the second phase of the work.
According to Dunoma, the terminal could be put in use while plans would be made to remove the structures.
In order to have uninterrupted power and water supply to the new facility, the FAAN managing director said the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory had directed that the airport should be connected to the central electricity and water system, adding that government had already approved funds for independent power supply.
“We have started the process of connecting the power system. The minister of Federal Capital Territory had instructed that the airport should be connected to the city main electric system and power system. Also government has approved money for the supply of independent power supply for the entire airport. So when these are completed by October the terminal will become functional. That is when we shall start using the terminal,” Dunoma said.
He explained that out of the five new terminals being built at the airports in Kano, Abuja, Lagos, Enugu and Port Harcourt, Abuja airport would kick off first followed by that of Port Harcourt, which is at the same level of completion as the Abuja facility.
“Abuja and Port Harcourt will start first. Their completion is at the same level but there is so much traffic in Abuja. It will ease traffic if we start Abuja first. So our intention is to start Abuja. Port Harcourt is gradually coming up,” he said.
The Abuja new terminal is one of the four airport facilities being built by the Chinese with $500 million loan secured by the federal government, which paid $100 million counterpart fund for the projects.