Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has said the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport would be completed in one year.
The minister gave the assurance during the inspection of airport facilities in Abuja.
He said the federal government had resolved the lingering issues around compensation of the community which had impeded the commencement of the project.
“On the second runway, I have to go and meet the FCT minister to clear the obstacle on the way. As of today, the report I have is that the communities have started receiving the money we disbursed.
“The Chinese company handling the project said it would clear the place next week and move to the site. So, we are going to invite Mr. President to come and commission it.
“For Abuja, as a capital city, it is extremely important that I work with relevant agencies, and the national assembly to make sure we deliver the project within 12 months,” Keyamo said.
According to Keyamo, the second runway had been a controversial project from former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime to date.
He described the second runway and ancillary facilities project as “low-hanging fruits”, and added that the project would serve as an alternative to the first runway in the airport”.
Keyamo said the government would also intensify efforts to improve chillers, lifts, and escalators at the nation’s airports.
He added that passengers’ interest is basically in the conducive environment at the airport.
“Both locally and internationally, what passengers want to see are three things — good chillers; they want to come into a conducive atmosphere. They also want to see that the lifts are working. The third one is effective escalators,” the minister said.
“I have told them that my mentality to some of those things is that, for example, most of the chillers that are obsolete, instead of fixing them repeatedly, we will buy new ones.
“Cost of fixing them, like three times, can buy a new one. There are good brands all over the world. Let us buy high-quality lifts. The ones I saw here are not good enough.
“I know about lifts. I will not be here and am going to buy substandard lifts. Lift is not what you just buy weekly. I will not be spending money repairing them every two months.”
Keyamo further said contracting the facility to the private sector to maintain would be “better than holding someone responsible for any abnormality.”
He said structurally, Abuja airport is a little bit okay compared to the Lagos old international airport terminal visited last Thursday, “we don’t need to do any structural amendments here”.
“Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been maintaining quality control and intends to keep that going. That is why our sky has been safe for some time,” he said.
Keyamo reiterated that he was responsive to the feelings of Nigerians regarding the aviation sector, adding that the full support of the agencies as well as the national assembly is needed.