By VICTOR NZE
Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) have expressed readiness to partner with the Edo State Government to improve facilities and safety at the Benin Airport.
FAAN Managing Director, Mr Saleh Dunoma, Chief Executive of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu; and Edo Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki agreed on the partnership after they inspected facilities at the airport, last Wednesday.
The governor said that his administration was committed to effective utilisation of available resources to reconstruct the airport, just as he explained that the inspection tour of the airport was to assess its potential for elevation to a standard that would boost economic activities in the state.
“We have approached FAAN and NAMA to kindly assist us in improving both the structural outlook and facilities of the airport. We have agreed that the plan is to first upgrade the facilities by deploying the right landing facilities.
“This will ensure that the airport is run for 24 hours. This will encourage more planes to come into the state to build the required traffic,’’ the governor said.
Obaseki said that the state would work with the two agencies to expand airport’s space before the end of the year, adding that the airport’s land encroached by some grabbers would be recovered, adding, however, that occupants with genuine certificates of occupancy would be compensated.
Remarking, Dunoma, who acknowledged that it was the responsibility of FAAN to provide expertise to maintain the airport, stated that the commitment shown by the state government to reconstruct the airport was legendary.
“I want to thank the governor for showing the direction; with this partnership, we can do a lot more to bring Benin Airport to full operation. We have inspected the facilities and would submit a report on what we need to do to improve safety and facilities in the airport,” he said.
On his part, Akinkuotu said that joint effort was needed to improve standards in the airport, adding that collaboration with the state government would help to achieve it.