The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is to shut down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State to allow contractors to fix the runway which has been in a state of disrepair in recent months.
The poor state of the runway has led to flood taking over a greater part of the runway whenever it rains, even as pilots repeatedly complain of encountering potholes while landing aircraft at the airport, a trend considered inimical to air safety. Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a statement on Saturday said the closure would commence on August 24, 2019, but did not say when the repair work would be completed and the airport reopened.
“We hereby notify airlines, passengers and all other stakeholders that effective 00:00 on 24th August 2019, the runway at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu will be closed for major repairs and works on the airfield,” Yakubu said.
“This move is aimed at resolving the existing safety and security concerns to flight operations. A date to reopen the runway will be communicated in due course,” she added. The shutdown will, however, come at a great price to air travellers in the southeast zone of the country as international flights by Ethiopian Airways and a couple of other domestic flights would be suspended pending the conclusion of repairs of the runway.
Meanwhile, Chairman/CEO of Air Peace has commended the Federal Government for the decision to close the Enugu international Airport to allow a proper repair and maintenance of the airport’s runway which has given airlines serious safety concerns. The government should go all out to put everything in place, within the period of the closure, that would make the airport rank among the best international airports in the country,” Onyema said.
According to him “We plead with the Federal Government to make the airport a 24hours flight operations airport by improving the night landing infrastructure. Though the decision will affect the traveling public and, of course, the airline, we place the safety of the flying public, our crew, and equipment above any commercial benefits,”