By Dennis Agbo
It is not yet clear when different works going-on at the Akanu Ibiam International airport Enugu will be completed, let alone fixing the date for resumption of flight operations at the Eastern gateway.
Vanguard findings followed visitation for the supervision of the runway reconstruction at the airport by House of Representative members, Reps Toby Okechukwu and Nnoli Nnaji.
In the course of the supervision, the Project Manager of the PW Nigeria Limited, handling the construction of the runway, Mr. Mahbub Khan indicated many obstacles inhibiting faster reconstruction of the runway.
Khan outlined insufficient asphalt plants, rainy season and well as some other technical issues as part of encumbrances towards earlier completion of the runway. He however said that about 75 percent of the work has been done, adding that it will take not less than ten weeks time (around September), barring disruption of rains before the contractor will complete the runway.
However, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, official, supervising the job said that the level of work done was not more than 65 percent, pointing at the contractor is being responsible for the delay in the speed of the job.
The turning pads that have been completed were pointed out to have some measurement deficiency but the contractor insisted that all he did were the diligent guide of the design given to him by the ministry of aviation.
Nevertheless, Deputy Minority Leader House of Representatives, Rep Toby Okechukwu expressed satisfaction with the work on the ground at the airport.
Okechukwu said: “The turning pads have been completed; the runway binder is up to 75 percent, leaving about 25 percent of the total work yet to be done. However, there are some safety issues in the graduation between the active runway and the shoulders, which will be corrected soon.
“We thought that the completion would have been earlier, but unfortunately, they have a broken plant, also, the environmental and climatic issue such as inclemency of weather has posed serious delay to the delivery of the work. We expect that the contractors will keep up to speed and work at their optimum to give an accurate, efficient, and timely delivery.”
Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Rep. Nnoli Nnaji said that based on what was on the ground; no one can give definite completion time, noting however that what is important is that the contractors are working while the National Assembly is doing its own oversight function.
“What is important is a good job first, completion second. The contractor is not complaining and the client is not complaining. We appreciate Mr. President who released the fund, the ministry for ensuring that the work is being done and the southeast Governors for interest and supervision of the job.
“We believe that this airport is very critical to the people of the southeast and everybody is looking forward to reopening of Akanu Ibiam International airport and that of the cargo section, the terminal buildings. Well, with the availability of funds we will laugh last because this airport will come out properly,” Nnaji said.
Other works ongoing at the airport include terminal building rehabilitation, perimeter fencing, drainage systems, road construction, signal equipment installations, Cargo section construction, clinics, Pilots lounge, and Emergency center.
Fixing of the airfield lighting is yet to commence.