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FG To Downgrade Enugu Airport



The Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu is to be downgraded from an international airport to a local airport, the minister of state for aviation, Hadi Sirika announced in Lagos on Friday.

He also revealed that the airport would soon be shut down for complete maintenance.

The minister spoke at a Ministerial Stakeholders Forum in Lagos. He averred that the present rundown state of the airport cannot be allowed to continue as he observed that the ad-hoc approach to the maintenance of the airport was no longer feasible.

The decision of the authorities to shut the airport to international operations is bound to receive concern among stakeholders especially given the patronage of the airport by Ethiopian Airways among others.

Even more, Air Peace, had two years ago announced its intention to commence international operations to Atlanta, United States of America; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Johannesburg, South Africa; Mubia, India and Gwuanzuo, China.

Speaking at the aviation stakeholders summit on Friday, Sirka observed that international airlines had mostly abstained from patronizing the airport mostly because of the bad runway and the presence of some obstructions into the airport.

He said: “There is a market at the end of the airport runway. There is a telecommunication mast there also and on the other end of the runway, there is a free trade zone. An abattoir is also located within the airport vicinity. This attracts birds. Air Peace airline suffered bird strike last week. The airport is currently not safe for flight operations .”

“We are going to downgrade the airport to a local or domestic airport from its present international status. Our huge investment in the new terminal there is not yielding the desired returns in terms of patronage. We have engaged the Enugu State Government several times and they promised to bring down the mast and remove all other identified obstacles, but this has not been done.”

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