President Jonathan Commissions Remodeled Enugu Airport
-Lays Foundation Stone of New International Terminal
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has commissioned the newly remodeled Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu, saying the ceremony is not only a fulfillment of his campaign promise in 2010 to give the South East geo-political zone a befitting international airport, but also a tip of the iceberg of what is to come to the zone in his transformation agenda.
The President, who also during the occasion, laid the Foundation Stone for the new International Terminal building at the airport, said his administration will not rest on it’s oars until all it’s campaign promises have been delivered to the people.
He noted that the commissioning of the remodeled terminal is part of ” a national effort at transforming the country’s air transport industry into one that is pivotal to socio-economic development of the country as it ought to be”.
“The programme is ambitious, covering all 22 airports under the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria. It involves the remodeling of all 22 airport terminals within three years, by modernizing them, expanding them and upgrading the facilities to bring them in line with international standards.
The President noted that already, the General Aviation Terminals (GAT) in Lagos and Abuja, the Benin and Kano remodeled terminals were all commissioned in quick succession earlier in the year, adding that in the following weeks, the Dr. Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport terminal as well as the the remodeled Yola airport would be commissioned.
“I also know that work in Jos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Sokoto, Ilorin, Maiduguri and the Murtala Mohammed International Terminals are at various stages of completion and that these projects will completely change the airport experience of Nigerians and our visitors alike, when completed.
The President regretted that ever since the various airports in the country were built about three decades ago, little or no developments have happened therein until the current effort began, following his approval of the Aviation Master Plan and Road Map.
On the new International terminal for which he performed the Foundation Laying ceremony, Goodluck Jonathan said the project, to be built at a cost of about N13 billion will provide for 500, 000 international passengers and provide Enugu and the South East region not only “a modern, efficient, functional, safe and secure gateway, but most importantly a prestigious edifice that will offer a befitting welcome and goodbye from the region and Nigeria”
Earlier in her address of welcome, Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah said the occasion calls for celebration, not just for the people of the South East geo-political zone of the country, but indeed for all Nigerians, enthusing that the Transformation Agenda of Mr President “is being actualized tangibly at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu”.
Princess Oduah said the new international terminal with a total floor area of 25,000 square meters will have capacity to handle 500,000 passengers per annum and will be completed in 24 months. “On completion of the terminal, this airport will finally answer it’s name in the real sense of the word “Akanu Ibiam International Airport”.
The Minister further disclosed that already, two international airlines have indicated interest to operate flights into Enugu, adding that discussion along these lines will continue over the next few months “as we prepare the airport’s infrastructure to meet this demand.
The Minister spoke about the remodeling of the 22 federally-owned airports, the five new international terminals coming on stream in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano as not the only transformation taking place in the aviation sector, but also the aerotropolis projects and the Perishable cargo terminals.
“Nigeria’s aviation industry must take it’s rightful place in our national life. The industry must become pivotal to the socio-economic development of our country as it is supposed to be and as we proclaim in our Vision, we will continue to do what it takes to deliver just such an industry to Nigerians”, the Ministered declared.