OrderPaperToday – The Senate has urged the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Aviation not to consider downgrading Akanu Ibiam International Airport.

This was sequel to a threat by the former Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport would be downgraded “because of what he considered as imminent dangers posed to air travellers by the presence of a nearby market; a state radio mast on the flight path of airlines that threaten the safety of incoming aircraft; an abattoir, which attracted large birds and exposed airplanes to bird strikes, the location of a free trade zone and the decrepit state of the runaway.”

Akanu Ibiam International Airport currently serves travellers from Enugu State, Anambra state, Ebonyi State, Kogi State, Benue State, Cross River State, etc and the major connecting link to South Eastern States.

In a motion moved by Senator Victor Umeh (APGA, Anambra) and co-sponsored by 16 other Senators on Thursday, the senators stressed the importance and the economic value of the airport, noting that the upgrade in 2013 as an international facility was historic and gave south easterners a sense of belonging.

According to Umeh, after the launch, not much was done to give the airport a face lift that befit an international airport in terms of standard structures and other facilities that will enhance smooth operation.

He further lamented that currently the airport has only one runway “which is in bad shape having been patched and lacks the second runway that should serve as an alternative in keeping with international standard.”

He stated that the runway of the Airport awarded to PW PLC was carried out without internal drains “which is affecting the stability of the runway, making it to crack and develop port holes and the only source of water supply to the Airport is supplies from Tankers, Fire Service Van and the reservoir which cannot stand the test in time of emergency unlike other airports that have constant water supplies.”

In the prayers, the Federal Government was asked to rehabilitate the runway of the Airport for the safety of passengers and aircrafts and take steps to complete the new terminal building then put it to use by local and foreign airlines.

Other prayers called on the Federal Ministry of Aviation and it’s agencies to develop a water source with the nearby Ekulu River for the use of the Airport while appreciating the Enugu state Government for “swiftly demolishing and ordering the relocation of Orie Emene Market, shutting down the nearby abbatoir and ordering the immediate removal of the broadcasting mast and other illegal structures on the approach of the Airport.”

All the prayers were approved by the chamber.

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