The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, says the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, now has the capacity to process over 20 million passengers with the inauguration of the new international terminal.
Sirika stated this during the inauguration of the new terminal by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, yesterday.
He said the new terminal would process a minimum of 15 million passengers annually, adding that the existing terminal processed 5.8 million in 2017.
According to him, the new terminal has 72 check-in counters, five baggage collection carousels, 28 immigration desks at arrival and 16 at departure, eight security screening points and eight passenger boarding bridges.
“It also has walkway to link the FCT metro rail with additional apron for remote parking of aircraft linkway to domestic wing and many other facilities,” Sirika said.
The minister said that the facilities were properly designed and laid out in accordance with modern requirements for airport operations.
Sirika said that the new terminal was the second in the series of airport terminals to be inaugurated from the projects funded by the China-Exim bank loan of 500 million dollars.
He said Nigeria contributed a counterpart funding of 100 million dollars from the Debt Management Office.
The minister said the airport was strategic to Nigeria as the gateway to the nation’s capital and being the second busiest airport in the country.
He further said that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was the fastest growing in passenger traffic in West and Central Africa with an average growth rate of eight per cent.
According to him, the airport processed 5.8 million passengers in 2017 and this volume equals about 13 times the total number of passengers recorded by Ghana as a country.
He said that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) also approved the second tranche of 461.7 million dollars for the funding of the phase two of the project.
The minister explained that the phase took into cognisance, additional facilities that would enhance airport’s efficiency.
These facilities, according to him, include the construction of an additional apron, a multi-level car park, a fire station, additional boarding bridges and connection between the old and the new terminals.
“It also include facilities and a boarding bridge to accommodate Airbus A380 and the completion of Kano and Lagos terminals.
“We are committed to rounding up the project soon.
“The contractor has gone ahead to implement it as approved, but recently slowed down the pace of work due to non-payment of 69.3 million dollars counterpart funding by government,’’ he said.
On his part, the Minister, Federal Capital Territory, Malam Mohammed Bello, said the inauguration of the new terminal was a reflection of the federal government’s commitment to completing all important infrastructure projects in the country.
Bello said the new terminal would complement the Abuja light rail and also link IP with Abuja Transportation Master Plan aimed at ensuring seamless connectivity in the city through air, rail and land.
He said the ongoing rehabilitation of the airport road by the FCT was also to complement the benefit of the airport to the travelling public and to boost tourism.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, said the most effective way to develop an economy was to provide transportation infrastructure, adding that Nigeria must continue to improve the sector.
Pinhjian said the completion of the project had added impetus to China and Nigeria cooperation, saying the Chinese Government was committed to partnering with Nigeria to build infrastructure in the country.
Nigeria Saves $500,000 From Calibration Aircraft – Minister
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that Nigeria will be saving a lot of money from the acquisition of a custom made calibration aircraft recently acquired by the Federal Government.
Sirika who disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents in Abuja, Tuesday, said the purpose of the aircraft was to calibrate navigational equipment and aid the country for the purpose of flight operations.
The aircraft which is worth about $8.5 million, according to the minister, will be commercialised to generate revenue, and keep the industry safe.
“We used to have one in Nigeria, but for the last two decades, we never had any. What propelled us to procure this aircraft was that while we were reconstructing the Abuja runway, we needed to recalibrate all those landing aids. That is the standard requirement and this is to ensure they are working in perfect order.
“The last time Nigeria had such aircraft was 20 years ago under cover aviation flying unit. We did not have the capacity as a country, the only people close to us that had is ASECNA which is owned by French speaking countries, but the aircraft is domiciled in Niger.
“We approached them but they did not have a slot for us. If I hadn’t got the support of far away South Africa, we would not beat the six weeks deadline.
“Nigeria will be saving a lot of money by procuring this aircraft. I know I paid about $500,000 when our equipment was due to South African contractor to carry out the task.
“ If you say every six months, we will do this, and that would be half a million dollars every six months. So when we do it sixteen times, the value of the aircraft would have been paid. Not only that, we will commercialise it to generate revenue and keep our industry safe “, Sirika said.
The minister, however, explained that it took about nine months from when the request was made to the completion and installation of the equipment.
The Tide reports that the aircraft was built in Textron Aviation Services, Kansas in the United States, and it is expected to improve safety in the aviation industry.
PH Airport Manager Seeks Safety Awareness, Education At Airports
The Safety Manager, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Mr Oguche Samuel, has harped on the need for continuous awareness and education on safety at the nation’s airports.
He said the continuous safety education would create awareness to staff and stakeholders at the airports on their safety responsibilities.
Samuel disclosed this while addressing participants at the safety promotion day at the airport which focused on Foreign Object Deris (FOD),
He urged participants and staff to be good safety ambassadors in their day to day activities, stressing that safety is one of the core values of FAAN.
Meanwhile, the management of the Port Harcourt International Airport has keyed into the Airport Emergency Plan programme as plans are in full gear towards the certification of the airport.
The Tide reliably learnt that the management of the airport recently took steps in training staff in relevant departments on emergency plan.
Instructors from Accra in Ghana, it was gathered, were invited to train some of the staff of the airport in the later part of last year.
The training was aimed at developing staff capacity to effectively and efficiently handle emergency response with the certification of the airport.
FAAN Moves To Check Security Threats At Airside
Following reported cases of intrusion into airside at the nation’s airports, particularly at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at nights, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has taken steps to install thermal and infrared cameras for airside monitoring and patrol.
The introduction of thermal and infrared cameras is meant to monitor and expose happenings or any intruder who manages to gain access to airports, especially at nights.
FAAN, in a press statement on Tuesday, said it took the steps because anything that happens at the airside, has a ripple effect on the aviation industry.
“We are mostly particular about the airside because at the end of the day, security and safety are paramount and anything that happens at the airside has a ripple effect and we are here to ensure that our airports are safe.
FAAN posited that it is a dangerous practice to go and open aircraft cargo door because of the engine blast which might occur on the process.
“The proximity switch and the plunder could vibrate when the engine level is moved above idle running; for some seconds, the light may flash and warning light will remain off. It is even an easy thing to open the cargo door while the engine is running.
“Rotation of the handle activates a torque tube to withdraw the latch rollers from the latch fitting and as the door swings on board under tension of the door balance mechanism, the door warning proximity switch is activated to energize the appropriate door warning in the control cabin to alert the Crewe”, FAAN stated.
Enumerating other efforts being made to tackle the problem, FAAN explained that the Authority has put patrol vans fitted with cameras on the dashboard to capture the environment during patrol, saying although this might be a temporary measure.
Our correspondent reports that there were reports of incidents of intruders allegedly opening the cargo compartment of aircraft either taxing or holding on the runway, particularly at the Lagos airport, which had become a cause of concern to FAAN management.
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