Delta to rehabilitate Asaba airport
THE Delta State Government has already set in motion the machinery for effecting the upgrades demanded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which recently effected a down grade of the airport following the directive for the rehabilitation of the existing runway, taxiways and the construction of perimeter fence as well as training of technical personnel.
A statement in Asaba yesterday by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah explained that the issues that necessitated the downgrading of the airport which was built at over N30 billion Naira have been known to the state government and was the reason Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan approved the rehabilitation of the runway and taxiways in the airport.
Going by the directive of the regulatory agency, only Dash 8 – Q 400 planes or their equivalent will continue to operate through the airport until the issues raised are resolved while all Boeing 737s and jets of similar category will be barred.
Ogeah said that the governor has approved the engagement of a seasoned consultant to supervise the rehabilitation exercise.
He said: “However, being a public sector project, extant rules on procurement and due process will be strictly adhered to. This may, at the initial stage, impact on the commencement of the project.
“ The Commissioner remarked that that the state government ws vigorously processing the mobilization of the contractor and the consultant for the job to commence in earnest.
He said that work on the perimeter fencing has commenced but however added that there is additional acquisition of over 400 hectares of adjoining land which has increased the scope of work.
Ogeah noted that in order to boost security within the airport axis, the government has employed 20 security guards to carry out routine surveillance of the airside.
On the training of requisite technical personnel, he said that all the staff recently employed by the State Government has undergone the four-week mandatory basic training at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Training School, Lagos in 2013 while arrangement has reached advanced stage for sending them on specialized training relevant to their various departments.
Ogeah said: “The down grade in the status of Asaba Airport has not in any way affected the operation of scheduled commercial flights in and out of the airport. Arik Air, Aero Contractors and Overland Air which operate scheduled daily flights has since deployed the right aircraft specification and are providing seamless services to passengers.”
He assured that the state government was committed to effecting the upgrade of the facilities directed by the NCAA promptly and the status of Asaba Airport will soon be restored to accommodate bigger jets such as the Boeing 737.