Both the contractor, fixing the runway and the South East Governors’ representative at the airport rehabilitation site, have confirmed that all things being equal and barring any other harmful rainfall, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu would be reopened on August 30 for air travel operations.
The South East Governors went further to disclose that the airport on resumption would become an intelligent airport that would be technologically driven to meet international best practice.
Project Manager of the PW Nigeria Limited, the firm reconstructing the runway, Mr Mahbub Khan told SEV that the company was working towards achieving the goal of meeting up with the August 30th date; while the Chairman of South East Governors Committee on Akanu Ibiam Airport Rehabilitation and Palliatives, Engr. Chris Okoye also said the date was possible.
Okoye told Newsmen, all the stakeholders involved in the airport rehabilitation are working round the clock, trying to achieve the date.
“The only thing that can stop us is the rain. There is a prediction that there will be flood in the South East from this week, I really don’t know but we should all pray against rainfall because if there is no rainfall, we are sure to deliver by August 30th.
“As long as the contractors continue working the way they are working now, including working on Sundays, the asphalt plant is working, the airfield lighting is working, the runway marking has commenced, so I think we are confident and the terminal building is being worked on as well.
“So, all things being equal, we hope that we might be able to spring a surprise to many people who have been pessimistic. There are quite a number of things we are trying to develop to change everything to be technology driven there, such as the toll gate, taxies, workers; we don’t want to see human beings around that airport anymore, everything will be technology driven,” Okoye disclosed.
Different rehabilitation works going on at the airport include roads and drainage control, terminal building renovation, clinic and pilots lounge constructions, control facilities, perimeter fencing and sustainable water treatment plant, among others.
The federal government had shut down the airport on August 24, 2019, for rehabilitation of the airport runway which pilots complained gave them hectic time during landing.
Subsequently, N10 billion was approved for works at the airport with a promise to use the airport for 2019 Christmas.
Unable to achieve the Christmas date, the goal post for resumption flights was shifted to April 2020 for Easter celebration, but that also failed, largely due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Furor has however trailed a few days to completion of the airport rehabilitation, as a landowner, Arch J.J Emejulu, last week, went and demolished a section of the perimeter fence being put up to secure different aviation equipment installed at the airport.
Emejulu’s demolition attracted the wrath of the federal government whose representative and Minister for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika quickly flew into Enugu with a Police helicopter and threatened to “maximally deal with Emejulu for demolishing a federal government asset.”
Emejulu’s residence has since been demolished for standing on a waterway.