The Airport Manager, Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, Mr Mahmoud Sani has stressed the need for dedicated electricity lines from the public power source at the end of the on-going remodelling work at the airport.
Sani who stated this while speaking with newsmen decried a situation where the airport depended mainly on power generating plant for the operations.
He therefore, called for dedicated lines from Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to the airport so as to reduce the cost of purchasing diesel in running the plant.
“We cannot afford to leave the airport in darkness, we have been running on generator and we have been buying diesel and we make sure the airport is provided with electricity throughout the operational period|, he said.
Sani commended the Cross River State Government for the provision of a 500 KVA generating plant and the overhauling of the old 500 KVA at a time when the airport was going through remodelling.
“If I could have a dedicated line to the airport, the State government has tried to do it, on two occasions the transformers collapsed and that is why we revert to the 11 KVA generators. If the dedicated lines can be revisited, I am sure that a lot of our challenges will be sorted out”.
On the remodelling of the airport, the Airport manager said it was the best thing that happened to the airport, adding that the terminal building had been upgraded to a storey-building and the halls would accommodate 1,500 passengers at the end of the project as against the 200 passengers at present.
He also stated that the check-in counters would increase from 10 to 30, pointing out two two major airlines in the country had indicated interest to fly into the Calabar airport.
Sani said that the upgrading of the airport building to a storey-building would provide opportunities for business activities.
The two times award winning airport manager (2009 and 2011) said it had been very challenging, managing Calabar airport due to the neatness of the city and as a tourist centre, stressing that the airport would not be left untidy being a gateway to the state capital.
According to him, the present management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has brought confidence and hope to workers of the organisation with the transformation agenda and the assurance of completing all abandoned projects.
On shifting from aeronautical to non-aeronautical services as revenue generating sources for the airport, he explained that shops had been built while plans were on to ensure the abandoned airline office building was completed for rent.
Stories by Reward Akwu
COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff
At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.
This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.
S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS
South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.
Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.
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