By Ignatius Okorocha
The Federal government has proposed an estimated N15billion for the construction of a second Runway for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja in the 2021 budget.
Making this disclosure after defending the Aviation Ministry 2021 budget estimate before the Senate committee on Appropriation at the weekend, chairman Senate committee on Aviation, Sen. Smart Adeyemi (Kogi west) told journalists that he was optimistic that government has to expend the sum N15billion to provide the runway for the safety of passengers and air crafts.
According to him, the second runway would check wastage of aviation fuel and time spent by pilots in trying to land at the airport of its designation without necessarily looking for the nearest airport to land because of unavailability of space in the airport of its designation.
“In my budget presentation I noted that we need a second runway in Abuja which will save us from some of the occasions when aircraft would have to be hovering and may be some of them running out of out of fuel because some of them tried to go to a nearby airport to land.
“So, when you have a second runway you are guaranteeing the safety of passengers and the aircrafts and you equally minimizing cost because when plane don’t hover around can adequately calculate the quantity of gas that are required.
“So it is a good thing to a second runway have s second runway is what ought to have been done about ten years ago by previous administration. We have that as one major aspect of it.
We equally have proposal for N15billion for the second way and we have another N10billion for Katsina Airport where we intend to setup aircraft and machine maintenance station,” he noted.
The lawmaker also said that many Airports in the country are not fenced and it has been observed that some of these airports have been taken over by grasses leading to animals finding their way to the airport and turning it into a gracing area.
The situation he noted has given rise to burning of the bush at the airports which poses danger to aircrafts and passengers boarding the aircrafts.
“A part from that we notice that some of our airports are unfenced and that accounts for when you see animals walking in inside the airport and you can see a situation where in some of the airports people set bush on fire.
“So we are proposing perimeter fencing in quite a number o airports in Nigeria in order to safeguard the airport. You can imagine a situation where an aircraft will be landing and bush will be on fire. All these are measures that could threaten ten safety of passengers and the aircraft itself,” the lawmaker said.
He equal said the aviation ministry is embarking on recovering abandoned Airstrips in the country.
“There has been abandonment of Airstrip by next year many of them would be alive. Many of these Airstrips would be rehabilitated so that those who have Jets could land. When you have an Airstrip people can take advantage of it and travel to do their businesses. Aviation accelerates economic development,” he said.