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Why FG plans to close Enugu airport indefinitely

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The Federal Government has said it plans to close the runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for major repairs and works on the airfield.

The closure is said to take effect from midnight of August 24, 2019 with no date given for the reopening.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, in a statement shared on FAAN social media handle on Saturday said the aim was to resolve the existing safety and security concerns to flight operations.

FAAN yesterday notified airlines, passengers and all other stakeholders that the runway “will be closed for major repairs and works on the airfield.”

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The immediate past Minister of State of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had said in May that the Federal Government planned to shut down the airport.

According to a Daily Trust story in May on the propose closure of the airport indefinitely, some of the reasons for the planned shutdown of the airport include the bad condition of the runway, the landing aids, a market, a free trade zone, among others.

Sirika said the airport would be closed down until the state government removes all the encumbrances posing threat to safe flight operations at the airport. The former Minister also said the government had contracted Julius Berger to renovate the premier Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) at the project cost of N14bn.

He said the government has carried out series of inspection to Enugu where a new terminal has been built. But the runway is being patched on a daily basis as the facility is said to have outlived its lifespan.

Similarly, the proximity of the airport to the market which also has an abbatoir exposes the airport to regular bird strike, recalling that an Air Peace flight was hit by bird and the aircraft had to make an air return. “As you approach Enugu, there is a market which has an abbatoir which attracts birds. At the end of the runway you have free trade zone. The state government kept promising they would remove all these challenges. Enugu maybe closed down soon”, he said.

However, “A date to reopen the runway will be communicated in due course,” FAAN concluded.

 

 

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