Finishing touches are the only ongoing work at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, as all major construction works have been concluded.
This was confided on Business Hilights correspondent by one of the top engineers working for Julius Berger at the site on Sunday evening.
According to the engineer who pleaded anonymity, “any aircraft can land from Monday evening of Tuesday ahead of Wednesday, the official reopening day”.
Already, local airlines and other airport service providers who relocated to Kaduna International Airport on the wake of the runway repairs are seen fixing their service structures ahead of resumption of business from Wednesday. Also, resilient foreign airlines who upon government’s appeals failed to relocate services to Kaduna have already reopened sales and bookings on their Abuja route as some of their staff were seen working on their stands.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had Penultimate Monday, confirmed the 96 per cent completion of the rehabilitation, with the assurance that the airport will reopen for operations come April 19.
He said “This is runway 22 where the work terminates. Remember work started from the other end which is 04. You can see that we have finished asphalting and we are at 96 per cent completion. The marking of the runway and lightings are going on simultaneously. This is three to four days’ work and we still have about eight days to go. We are happy and we are on course”.
“This is the first time any Nigerian runway is being treated with such material and that material is a 50 tonner. We had to fly it into Nigeria to ensure that it comes in time for this job. I am very happy and I thank Nigerians for bearing with us and also thank President Muhammadu Buhari for believing in us that we can do it.
The Abuja airport was on March 9, temporarily shut for repairs of its only runway. The runway has been in use since the airport was built in 1982, and expired some 14 years ago but was not repaired by the relevant authorities until recently when it deteriorated to a high risk level.
The N5.8 billion rehabilitation exercise was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.