Abuja Airport Ready for Use, Says NCAA

Abuja Airport Ready for Use, Says NCAA
Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman

The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Usman Muktar, has certified the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja ready for operation, adding that the airport can be opened on Wednesday.

Muktar stated this while speaking with newsmen during an inspection of the airport’s runway on Monday in Abuja.
The Abuja airport was closed on March 8 for six weeks for the rehabilitation of its 3.6km runway.
Flights were diverted to the Kaduna International Airport during the period.

The federal government had announced that the airport would be reopened for normal operations on April 19.
Muktar disclosed that NCAA had concluded the second phase of inspection as a follow-up to the recommendations made to the contractors to correct some areas of concern earlier identified by a team of experts.

According to him, they inspected the runway on Sunday and made some observations, but the findings that were found were not too safety critical.

He added, however, that the concerns were rectified on Monday.
“We have carried out the inspection and we have confirmed that the job has been done quite satisfactorily in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices.

“So, the airport, the runway is very ready to accept flight operations safely.
“By this, we are declaring that the airport and its runway are quite operational at the time that has been determined as the official opening of this airport,” he declared.
Muktar said his agency has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to all aviators worldwide that the airport is ready for reopening on Wednesday as scheduled.

On the calibration of the airport, he said that nothing had been tampered with as far as the instrument landing system (ILS) was concerned to warrant recalibration.
According to him, calibrations are normally scheduled and very soon, the airport will also be calibrated along with others.
“It will be normal routine calibration which will be applicable to other airports that are due for recalibration,” he said.

Earlier, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Saleh Dunoma, had said that the runway was fully ready for reopening and confirmed that it had been completely cleaned up.

Dunoma said NCAA had given the operators a “clean bill of health”, adding that some of the observations raised by the team of experts on the repair of the runway had been corrected.
He explained that the runway was cleared “because we have our technical team working across the length and breadth of the runway to make sure that every detail is observed”.

“That is why all equipment have been evacuated from the runway. Later, all the professionals at NCAA and FAAN will carry out a detailed inspection again to ensure that all debris is cleaned up during final cleaning.

“Any moment from now, if there is any aircraft, we are ready to receive that aircraft, but of course, in aviation there are procedures because NOTAM has to be issued and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) will do that and then we are ready,” he said.

In line with the green light given on the Abuja airport, Air Peace, one of Nigeria’s domestic airlines, on Monday said it would resume flights to the airport on Wednesday.
The announcement by the airline’s Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah, also thanked air travellers for keeping faith with it and by making a huge sacrifice during the repairs at the airport.
Air Peace also commended the federal government and the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, for the speedy completion of repairs at the Abuja airport.

“We are pleased to announce resumption of all our flights into and out of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, with effect from April 19.
“The federal government shut the facility to air traffic on March 8 to enable a six-week repair of its runway and diverted all Abuja-bound flights to the Kaduna International Airport.

“We considered the decision of the federal government to shut down the airport for quick repairs of its runway in tandem with the high safety standards of our flight operations.
“At Air Peace, the safety of our esteemed guests is our first rule of business. We do not compromise on that for any reason.

“Although the decision to shut the facility to traffic came at a huge cost for us, nothing compares with safety.
“We are also aware that our numerous guests and the entire travelling public had to make a lot of sacrifices during the repair of the runway and wish to commend them for their understanding and cooperation,” it said.

Air Peace added that the repair of the runway further intensified its enthusiasm to deliver the best flight experience to its guests in a very safe atmosphere.
“Our Abuja schedules are alive once again and we promise to give the best of air travel services as we resume our flight operations in the Federal Capital Territory,” the airline stated.

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