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FG Downgrades Asaba Airport Over Safety Concerns

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BEVERLY HILLS, May 05, (THEWILL) – The federal government has downgraded the Asaba Airport over the failure of the Delta State Government to put in place measures that would guarantee the safety and security of passengers using the airport, an Aviation Ministry statement said Tuesday.

“With the downgrading which takes immediate effect, the airport would now be allowed to accommodate the operation of only Dash 8-Q 400 aircraft or its equivalent until all the safety issues are addressed,” the statement said.

The airport was financed by the Delta State Government.

The statement signed by James Odaudu, Assistant Director, Press & Public Affairs to the Minister for Aviation further said, … “The federal government, through the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had raised several safety concerns over undulations on the airport's runway, lack of the required strip, perimeter fencing, drainage, as well as lack of adequately trained technical personnel.

“It has therefore become a matter of serious concern that despite a series of meetings with, and assurances given by the operators of the airport, the Delta State government, no concrete steps have been taken to address the issues which are capable of compromising the safety of flight operations and, of course, the passengers.

“The federal government has also drawn the attention of the owners of the airport to the fact that it has, through its inability to address the issues, violated the Compliance with Safety Standards as stipulated in the Nig. CARs Part 12.6.2 and 12.6.3 in respect of the airport runway and its associated facilities as well as adequately trained personnel.”

According to the Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, “the downgrading has been carried out in the public interest because the federal government places very high premium on the safety and security of aviation passengers and would never compromise set standards for whatever reason”.

The Minister however assures that the airport would revert to its previous status as soon as all the safety concerns are adequately and satisfactorily addressed.