The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has given assurance that Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, would be reopened before the April 2020 Easter celebration.
Sirika gave the assurance during the ministry’s budget defence before the House Committee on Aviation at the National Assembly, Abuja.
He also promised that the airport would be one of the best in the country at the end of the reconstruction work. This is a departure from the earlier statement made by the minister that the airport would be reopened in time for the Christmas celebration this year.
Earlier in the month, President Muhammadu Buhari approved N10 billion emergency funds for the upgrade of the airport and the minister said a state of emergency has been declared for its speedy completion.
During the budget defence, the committee Chairman, Nnolim Nnaji, representing Nkanu East/West Federal constituency, commended the minister for his commitment to the reconstruction project and inquired from him when the contractor would begin work at the site.
He also appealed to the minister to extend the same commitment and tenacity he has so far deployed to the problems of Akanu Ibiam Airport to other airports in the country that require such intervention.
Responding, the Minister disclosed that he had held meeting with Minister of Finance and the Director-General of the Budget Office and that the money would soon be released so that the contractor could move to site.
Sirika further stressed that he would move his office technically to Enugu when the reconstruction begins and as well urged the committee to equally support him by engaging in periodic visits to the airport to supervise the work.
On the new terminal building, Harika disclosed that it would be completed by the middle of 2020.
The Minister had used the opportunity to reel out the achievements of his Ministry in the last one year, which included the reconstruction of the Lagos and Abuja terminal buildings as well as the security certification of the two airports by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, (ICAO).