The minister of state for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has disclosed that the federal government will soon close down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu because of its terrible state.
Speaking in Lagos on Friday during a stakeholders forum, Senator Sirika said the airport will be downgraded in-terms of international operations because of the state of the runway which has a market at the end of it, a free trade zone and and a mast.
He said Ethiopian Airlines may be stopped from flying to Enugu if they did not stopped on their own until the problems are addressed.
The minister said he has discussed the problems with the Enugu state Governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi severally on the need to relocate the market, the free trade zone and the mast, but till now nothing has been done.
Sirika stated further that he has gone to Enugu three times on the issue and cannot take it again.
The Governor must move the market, the free trade zone must be relocated and the mast must be removed to carry us carry out better works at the runway, the minister said.
He said these problems must be solved as the government has spent billion of naira building the airport terminal which must be utilised.
Sirika said some of new airports the country is building must be concessioned or else they would be run aground in few years.
He also disclosed that the ministry will be spending over N14 billion on the reconstruction of the old Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
He noted that the Lagos airport was built for about 200,000 passengers, but today used by over 8million passengers use the airport.
The minister said when the old terminal building is moved to the new terminal, the old one will be totally reconstructed with new lifts, air conditioners and other modern equipment.
Sirika said the new terminal in Lagos will be opened before the end of the year.
He applauded the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT for their achievement as the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO centre of excellence, adding that Nigeria has the highest no of ICAO courses in the world.
The minister said the industry has grown the contribution of aviation to the GDP from 0.4percent to 0.6percent.
Sirika observed that out of 157 projects, the ministry has done 130 and will be commissioning them from Saturday.
He said the payment of the Nigeria Airways workers will be completed this year because it was captured in the 2019 budget.
According to Sirika, the ministry is working on the modalities of removing the Value Added Tax, VAT from the aviation industry.
Sirika said Nigerians are yet to have an airline that caters for their yearnings, which necessitated the need for a private sector driven airline.