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FG to deliver Abuja airport’s second runway within 12 months – Keyamo

The Federal Government says it will deliver the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) within 12 months.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo, made this known during the inspection of facilities at the NAIA on Tuesday in Abuja.

The minister said the government had resolved the lingering issues on community compensation who has impeded commencement of the initiative.

“On the second runway, I have to go and meet the FCT Minister to clear the obstacle on the way. As of today, the report I have is that, the communities have started receiving the money we disbursed.

“The Chinese company handling the project said it would clear the place next week and move to the site. So, we are going to invite Mr President to come and commission it.

“For Abuja, as a capital city, it is extremely important that I work with relevant agencies, and the National Assembly to make sure we deliver the project within 12 months,” Keyamo said.

According to the minister, the project had been a controversial project from former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime till date.

He described the second runway and ancillary facilities project as low-hanging fruit, adding that the project would serve as an alternative to the first runway in the airport.

Keyamo said the government would also intensify efforts to improve on chillers, lifts, escalators at the nation’s airports.

According to him, passengers’ interest is basically on conducive environment at the airport.

“Both locally and internationally, what passengers what to see are three things – good chillers; they want to come into a conducive atmosphere. They also want to see that the lifts are working. The third one are effective escalators.

“These are the problems our airports are facing. Even in this new facility, I understand, only four of the chillers are working.

“I have told them that my mentality to some of those things is that, for example, most of the chillers that are obsolete, instead of fixing them repeatedly, we will buy new ones.

“Cost of fixing them like three times, can buy a new one. There are good brands all over the world. Let us buy high quality lifts. The ones I saw here are not good enough.

“I know about lifts. I will not be here and going to buy substandard lifts. Lift is not what you just buy weekly. I will not be spending money repairing them every two months,” he said.

The minister said contracting the facility to private sector to maintain would be better than holding someone responsible for any abnormality.

“Structurally, I think Abuja airport is a little bit okay. In terms of the structure (building), we don’t need to do any structural amendment here.

“Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been maintaining quality control and intend to keep that going. That is why our sky has been safe for some time.

“NCAA is directly responsible to International Civil Aviation Organisation. We will hold them working to that standard. That is my duty, but not to interfere in their regulatory activities,” he said.

The minister reiterated he was responsive to the feeling of Nigerians regarding aviation sector.


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