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Considering the need to ensure that in the future, there would not be any need to close the Abuja airport as a result of repairs on its runway, the federal government is looking along the direction of constructing a second runway.
Explaining more on the need, the Minister for State Aviation, Mr. Hadi Serika said the proposed runway should be ready in 24 months and expressed hope that it would get the required approval from the Federal Executive Council.
According to him, “There is a plan by government to squeeze in within the 2017 budget to have a second runway in Abuja. However, we need to learn from previous mistakes. Since 1995, I, as a person, has been campaigning for a second runway in Abuja because of safety and to make the airport more efficient. But it fell on deaf ears.
“We were lucky during the time of (the late) President UmaruYar’Adua that the government saw reason as to why there should be a second runway. But this idea was condemned, with people saying that the money was too much. Alternatively, you would have campaigned against the cost, but support the project. So kill the cost, don’t kill the project.”
“So, yes there will be a second runway in Abuja. Hopefully, within the next 24 months we will have a new runway. There is a second runway in Kano, a military runway; a second runway in Lagos and a second runway in Port Harcourt. So, they have second runways and I think the focus of government now within the limited resources is to do a second runway in Abuja.
“The remaining work, during the concession process, if we need additional runway, the man who wins the concession should be able to give us the additional runway.”
Serika hinted that once the process for the building of the runway commenced, it should be achieved within 24 months.
He was however quick to add that if there is any delay in the budget, the 24 month delivery schedule might shift the completion date of the second runway.