The federal government wednesday said it has concluded plans to carry out comprehensive rehabilitation of the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
This was disclosed by the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Muhtar Usman, who noted that the runway has gone through a lot of short term repairs but to ensure that it continues to meet international standards, the government has to embark on comprehensive rehabilitation of the airport.
The director general made this known wednesday after inspection tour of the facility and other safety critical infrastructure at the airport.
Usman said NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigerian (FAAN) were prompted to visit and inspect the airport facilities following the call by the governors of the Southeastern states for urgent action on the runway.
The governors described the runway as death trap.
But Usman said the runway is safe and that is why the regulatory authority allowed flights at the airport, noting that Ethiopia Airlines operates international flights three times a day from the airport.
“If maintenance has not been done according to standards and renewals have not taken place as and when due, we certainly will have some failures like this. Last year, Abuja runway was closed down as a result of similar problems.
“Short time maintenance has been going on for the past two years to ensure that the safety level is maintained. In the runway, we just passed through, and there is nothing major in terms of safety. We came here by air and we landed, but there is a lot that can be done to improve on the riding quality.
“Plans are on the way to carry out similar works that took place in Abuja runway. To ensure longer life, better riding quality for the runway, we have some international flights coming to Enugu, some are three times a week. Dreamliner lands here, Boeing 777 also lands here, especially for cargo. Generally speaking, we will say the runway is still very safe to operate. This is in line with the government’s policy to ensure that whatever is done is in line with the international standard. Arrangements are being made to rehabilitate the runway,” he stated.
The acting Managing Director of FAAN and Director, Engineering Services, Salisu Daura, also added that the agency plans to install airfield lighting, approach light and other safety critical amenities in order to make the airport operate longer hours into the night.