By Anayo Okolie, Dennis Agbo & Chinedu Adonu
The rehabilitated Akanu Ibiam International Airport was, on Sunday, reopened for use, with the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, hinting that the airport would be among the airports that can be concessioned.
Sirika also announced that with the official commissioning of Enugu Airport, local flight operations began immediately there, while international flights will resume at the airport from September 5.
He also said that from now on the focus would be on the completion of the international terminal at the eastern gate, as would accelerate the works of other renovations at the airport.
Sirika, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the ceremony, stated that he has no regrets about starting flight operations at other international airports besides Abuja and Lagos, as some interests wanted, and said: “We want to serve you where you are.”
Southeast Governors Forum president Dave Umahi said closing the airport for rehabilitation was a difficult decision, which has now paid off.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide President General Chief Nnia Nwodo relayed the Igbo request to President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval and implementation of the rehabilitation works.
Captain Rabiu Yadudu, Executive Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, noted that Akanu Ibiam Enugu International Airport was one of FAAN’s revenue bases and had to renovate the airport to restore the confidence of the stakeholders of the airport.
Dignitaries at the reopening ceremony include; Ohaneze Ndigbo President General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo; Former Culture Minister, Chief Frank Ogbuewu; United Airline CEO Dr. Obiora Okonkwo; Chairman of the state council of traditional rulers of Enugu, Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu; Enugu State Commissioner for the Environment, Hon Chjioke Edeoga.
Others are the Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige; Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Chuka Utazi, Emeka Nwajiuba, Geoffrey Onyeama, Hon Lynda Ikpeazu, Senator Victor Umeh, Prince Arthur Eze, Senator Uche Ekwunuife, among others.