By Sumaila Ogbaje
The newly-constructed international terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja will be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, an official says.
Mr Saleh Dunoma, the Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja that all requirements to make the facility functional had been met.
Dunoma added that the terminal, which was being constructed by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), would be ready to commence operation immediately after its inauguration on Thursday.
He assured that all issues that could stop airlines from commencing operation at the terminal had been addressed, adding that all international airlines had expressed their readiness to use the facility.
“Some foreign airlines would have loved to move in earlier than this, but we have to wait until the contractors finish the project.
“But the terminal building is ready for operation because everything that can make it work are already in place.
“There were some problems that were discovered by the engineers earlier, which are very minor, and we drew the attention of the contractor and they have rectified them.
“We are working towards Dec. 20 which was the date given by the Minister of Aviation.
“The foreign airlines are willing to start using this facility immediately and we are working with them.
“They have gone through the entire terminal and they have seen that the new terminal is a lot better than what we have before now in terms of equipment, installations, space facilitation and comfort.
“The only issue they raised is connectivity, which is normal, and a team of engineers are working on this to help them connect with their foreign offices so that they can easily communicate passenger information and data,’’ the FAAN managing director said.
Dunoma said government was determined to expand the airport facilities to enhance maximum utilisation of the new terminal, saying the apron would be expanded to accommodate more aircraft.
“We are also going to build new fire station and that will also improve fire rescue operations in the airport.
“But the existing fire station and control tower are sufficient enough to service this new terminal when in operation.
“We are also planning for something like the additional runway and pavement to increase the capacity of landing and parking,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the terminal at Abuja airport is one of the four new ones being constructed at the cost of $600 million by the CCECC under the Export-Import Bank of China loan.
The others are in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano and are being financed from the $500 million loan from China-Exim Bank and $100 million counterpart funding from the Federal Government.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in October inaugurated the new terminal in Port Harcourt, while the remaining two are expected to be ready for use in 2019.(NAN)