By Kasim Sumaina
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, yesterday expressed belief that the ongoing Anambra State cargo airport project would be successful in serving the interests of the trading population of the state and its environs.
Sirika stated that airports could be viable if they are built with specific objectives in mind, and therefore, advised the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to sustain the ongoing collaboration with the regulatory authorities to ensure that all regulations and guidelines for the construction and operation of airports are met.
The Aviation Minister made the appeal when he received the state governor in his office in Abuja.
Sirika, in a statement made available to journalists by the Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, commended the Anambra State Government for embarking on a cargo airport project that would positively impact on the economic development of the state and the South-east region at large.
According to him, “the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its agencies will always give the necessary guide and cooperation to states embarking on such projects in order to ensure that all internationally set standards are met.”
Earlier, Obiano had said the Anambra State International Cargo Airport located at Umueri would be ready for inauguration in April 2021, and that the state would be honoured to have him (the minister) perform the task.
Obiano said: “We are sure of the date because we have the money to compete it. We are not asking for any assistance neither are we taking any loan. I am here personally to brief you on the project and to invite you to unveil it for us in April 2021.”
Obiano told the minister that the decision to embark on the airport project was informed by the need to cater for the economic interests of the state and its environs.
The airport, he said, has the second longest runway in the country after the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, and is being built with the best available materials to guarantee a lifespan of 100 years.
“The airport is just a few kilometres from Onitsha town, the economic nerve centre of the South-east region. It is strategically located, and it is a worthwhile investment,” he said.
According to the governor, the construction of the airport has been guided by recommendations and guidelines of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as it hopes to meet the best international standards.