• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

FAAN raises hope on completion of PH international airport upgrade

businessday-icon

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured passengers that the ongoing remodelling of the Port Harcourt international airport will be completed soon, to allow for seamless and smooth flow of both domestic and international flight operations.

In a chat with some select journalists in Port Harcourt recently, Ebele Okoye, South-South/South-East regional general manager, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), affirmed that hopes are high that both the local and international wings of airport will be fully completed in earnest, adding that funds have been made available to the contractor on the local wing to resume work, while work is upbeat at the international wing.

The remodelling of the airport which commenced in early 2012 have been slowed by several factors including lack of funds to the contractor, Inter-BAU Construction Limited, and the most recent cabinet reshuffle affecting the former minister of aviation.

“What we aim to deliver here is a one stop convenience facility never before seen in Nigeria. The airport will boast of retail outlets, offices, banks, eateries, bureau de  change and hotels within the premises,” Okoye said.

She also revealed that construction of the international wing is nearing 20 percent and should be delivered by 2016.

In her opinion once completed, the airport will strengthen its claim as the desired hub for the South-South region allowing airlines (both local and foreign) leverage its potential, considering its role in the Oil and Gas industry value chain.

According to her, despite its current clumsy state the airport has continued to attract more airlines and this she explained would be  trend once facilities at the airport are fully delivered.

“Currently, two international airlines have shown their interest to veer into this route but we are constrained by the lack of an apron (parking space) to accommodate these new entrants,” she enthused.

However with the construction of a new apron set for delivery by year end, the regional general manager envisaged that the airport will accommodate more airlines into the route and also expand its services.

On cargo operations, she noted that the operations is fast growing from what it was earlier as three more cargo clearing agents have joined the existing two operators in recent time.

She also debunked the popular perception that the airport is porous to external forces, explaining that in recent time drastic measures have been taken to strict measures to ensure that lives and properties within this terminal are totally safeguarded.

“At the moment we have CCTV cameras monitoring all the parts of this airport. We also have a 24 hour disguised surveillance team made of military personnel patrolling the every nook and cranny of the airport,” she said.

Odinaka Mbonu