Management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured that the Abuja Airport (Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport) runway would be ready by Monday, April 17, 2017, two days ahead of the deadline.
In a statement signed by the media consultant to the Minister of State for Aviation, Ariyo Akinfenwa, FAAN’s Managing Director, Engr. Saleh Dunoma gave the assurance on Sunday in Lagos after inspecting the progress of work at the airport. He said:
“We will be ready April 17 but we are leaving the remaining two days for Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“We have written to them and they will come by today (Sunday) to do the preliminary inspection.
‘They have to certify the airport that what we have done is in accordance with their standards.
“If there is any observation as a result of the inspection, we will now make sure we carry out corrections.”
Dunoma maintained that with the work done, the April 19 deadline for the reopening of the airport is no longer in doubt.
“All the critical items of work are 100 per cent except maybe two items; which of course are the markings and the cleaning.
“Asphalt work is 100 per cent, markings have reached almost 70 per cent and the airfield lighting system has reached 80 per cent,” he said.
According to him, the authority also used the opportunity provided by the closure of the airport to address other Airport Excellence in Safety (APEX) related items. Hear him:
“We are now levelling all the airfield lightings’ locations, all the installations and flash with the ground surface.
“In the case of any skidding, there will not be concrete projection above the ground surface.”
The FAAN boss further explained that the newly constructed runway does not need calibration because the previous Navigational Aids were not tampered with. He also disclosed that the terminal building was ready for flight operations.
“The runway does not need calibration. All we need to check is to make sure there is 100 percent illumination.
“Calibration is done periodically. When the time come for calibration, the appropriate authority will calibrate the Instrument Landing System (ILS),” he said.
However, a night-time rehabilitation which will last for four months is due to commence on the Abuja Airport runway later this week.
The airport will see more repairs on some parts of the 3610m long runway and other critical sections of the aerodrome between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. daily. The four-month nocturnal repairs were part of the initial six-month duration to fully turn the airport around, with almost a new runway and upgraded facilities both on the air-side and land-side of the airport.
The plan will make the second busiest airport in the country to be shut down for five hours everyday, during which flight activities will be restricted. The repairs may also cause airport users some bit of discomfort while they last.
The Abuja airport was shut on March 8 for six weeks to enable Julius Berger to rebuild the 3.6-kilometre runway. The runway, which was constructed in 1982 was meant to last for 20 years but had been in use for 35 years without major repairs and maintenance.