The overdue Abuja International Airport runway has been approved for reconstruction by the Federal Government, since its construction in 1982.
Mr. Hadi Sirika who is the Minister of State for Aviation, informed Journalists on Wednesday, July 27, that his ministry had approaches the office of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to fast-track the process for onward repairs, following an inspection of some damaged portions.
According to the Minister, the federal government cannot continue to fund the 22 nation’s airports including the Abuja airport except to adopt for public-Private Partnership (PPP) model for the country’s airports.
Sirika noted that some failed portions of the airport runway have been fixed and can now take larger aircraft for the short term but a long term measure would be a more comprehensive repairs and the building of the second Abuja runway.
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He added that the approval for reconstruction would follow due process which might take a while but stated that a Transaction Adviser would be engaged to undertake the entire process from bidding to contracting the reconstruction of the runway.
Bids have been invited from six local contractors among who are CCECC, Julius Berger among others, as President Buhari has approved the finances for the complete fixing of the runway. In his statement, the Minister said:
“The President has asked for the immediate and quick short term repairs to be able to put the runway into use. I had to brief him that we had to shorten the airport runway from 3.6 kilometres to 2.2 to avoid the failed section for a number of days. We are happy that some repairs have been carried out.
“The President has approved that funds be immediately be made available for major repairs in the interim before complete overall rehabilitation of the runway will be carried out.”
“The focus of this Administration is to ensure that our air transportation as well as other means of transportation in the country, is highly secured and safe.”
“This cannot be achieved without having certain things in place and working in perfect condition. For instance, the Abuja airport was built in 1982 and the runway was designed and constructed to last for 20 years.”
“Although some major repairs which had prompted the shortening of the runway in the last few days had been carried out, efforts had reached top gear to commence total overall and rehabilitation of the 34 years old runway.”