Anambra’s new airport gains traction as first commercial flight expected April 30 - BUSINESS POST
…State deflates alleged non-issuance of international licence by FG as misleading
…Said airport’s 5.7km long, 60m wide runway largest in Africa
…Yet to provide cost of project
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Anambra’s new cargo/passenger airport which is in its completion phase, is expected to achieve its major milestone with the first commercial plane scheduled to land at the terminal on April 30, to test-run the facilities at the airport.
The airplane is from the fleet of Air Peace airlines, owned and operated by Allen Onyema, who to date, operates the only Nigerian indigenous international air carrier.
Anambra airport, by far the newest in the country, has a 5.7 km runway, a control tower sitting on an 11-storey building, the tallest in Nigeria. The state government says the airport is coming as the “most-modern in Nigeria,” designed to revolutionize particularly export and import business in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, C. Don Adinuba, commissioner for information and public enlightenment, has deflated a report that the federal government through the ministry of aviation, has refused to give the Anambra government a licence to operate an international airport, but has rather offered it a licence to run a domestic airport.
“The report is misleading and mischievous as it fails to state when the minister announced the alleged decision, how and to whom,” Adinuba said.
He said, on the contrary, the minister of aviation Hadi Sirika has been exceptional in his support for the airport; adding that the State government and the people could not have asked for better cooperation from the minister and relevant agencies under his supervision like the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which approved the quality of the job done, and the commitment of the state political leadership.
He said the state government was compelled to refute the report because of the anxiety it has created in millions of Nigerians, particularly Anambra people across the world who wait anxiously to make use of the airport.
Adinuba stated that Anambra cargo/passenger airport remains an international airport, which will be commissioned this year. “Like any other airport in the world, it will start with local operations, add regional operations later and finally international flights.”
He listed that the airport’s facilities are strong and built to global standards, big enough to accommodate the biggest aircraft in the world.
“The runway is 5.7 kilometres in length and 60 metres in width, the longest and the largest throughout Africa. Its facilities are the most modern in the whole country, and such pieces of equipment as the fire trucks rank among the most modern in the world. It is the only airport in Nigeria with satellite landing instruments. The implication is that planes can land there any time of the day or night,” the information and public enlightenment commissioner said.
Anambra cargo/passenger airport is the fifth airport to be built by any Nigerian state government. Others are: Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri built by Imo State; Ibom Airport, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State; Asaba Airport, Delta State; Bayelsa Airport, among other.
But Anambra government said its airport is the only one conceived and built for international operations. It is the only Airport built in just one year three months, the state said.
The government equally said it is completing the airport in record time without the authorities borrowing from any bank anywhere in the world, even at a time of acute global economic crisis which has seen the United Kingdom, for instance, in its worst recession in 300 years.
Till date, the state government has yet to come out with the cost of the airport. But said, it was up to date in meeting its contractual obligations to all the local and multinational firms involved in the project, despite the declining value of the naira against international currencies.
The Willie Obiano government in Anambra finished its second and last tenure in November, with a state governorship election due for November 6. The outgoing governor noted that the state must always provide a glimmer of hope in governance in Nigeria.