Nigerian govt mulls second runway at Abuja Airport

The Nigerian government is considering the possibility of building a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in order to cushion the effect of over burden on the existing runway.

This was revealed by the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika. According to the minister, when asked whether there would be a second runway in Abuja, he said, “Yes, hopefully in the next 24 months, there should be a second runway. There will be a second runway in Lagos, in Kano and Port Harcourt and as such there should be a second runway in Abuja.

“The focus of the government now within limited resources is to build second runway in Abuja but remember during the concession process, we said that the man who wins the concession should be able to build the second runway.  What I mean is that once we begin the process of building a runway, we should be able to achieve it within 24 months.

If we put it in the budget and we are to build it, we should be able to build it within 24 months. If we begin the procurement today, in 24 months, we will have a second runway but if the budget is delayed, we will begin the procurement late.”

Speaking further, the minister said, “The runway that you all know in Abuja was constructed to last for 20 years but have been there for 35 years. 15 years on excess of the design of the runway lifespan. There is no major maintenance carried on that runway. Now the runway began to fail and it is not anything new in Nigeria unfortunately because the Port Harcourt runway, when it failed and shut down by itself, flight operations were diverted without notice to Owerri, Enugu, Calabar, etc.

“And it shut itself for nearly two years and in those two years, we were going to other airports as alternate airports without arrangement whatsoever to handle the hundreds of passengers that were coming to Port Harcourt as at then.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed explained that “the purpose of this visit is to avail you with the first-hand information and assess the level of arrangement that has been put in place to alleviate the inconveniences of passengers and airlines due to the temporary closure of the Abuja International airport for the purpose of reconstruction.

“As against the erroneous belief that there is no need to close down the airport for runway repairs, there is no alternative to closing down the airport as it needs a total reconstruction.

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