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Proposed second runway for Abuja Airport in 2017 budget, says minister


Nigeria’s minister of aviation Hadi Sirika and his information and culture counterpart, Lai Mohammed, inspect the reconstruction of Abuja Airport runway on Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said the proposal for the second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja has been included in the 2017 budget and work would commence as soon as the appropriation bill is approved by the National Assembly.

Sirika however, told journalists in Abuja that the approval for its construction was dependent on the availability of funds.

His words: “We will have a second runway in Abuja by the grace of God. All our major airports have second runway, including Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kano airports. It’s only Abuja which is the nation’s capital and the fastest growing city in Africa that has no second runway.”

He noted that when the government attempted to build the second runway in the past, the cost of doing it became very astronomical from what the contractors were charging.

“Nigerians reacted rightfully and of course, the whole idea was abandoned and I was thinking that this probably may not be the right way to go. They should have actually tried to kill the cost instead of killing the project,” he added.

Sirika noted that Nigerians should have reacted to the cost and forced the immediate past government to do it within a reasonable cost rather than abandon the project.

Meanwhile, the President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Comrade Isaac Balami has said the construction of the second runway for the Abuja Airport was long overdue and as such its construction should commence as soon as possible.

Commending Sirika for being predictive rather than reactive, he said being proactive in aviation industry was not enough as there were no rooms for trials by error.

He said the same spirit and zeal the federal government exhibited in fixing Kaduna-Abuja road within a month and rehabilitation of the runway within six weeks should be adopted in constructing a new runway as soon as possible.

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