Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Abuja Airport Opened Earlier Than The Proposed Date

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday commended the efforts of the Ministries of Transport, Power, Works and Housing, Kaduna State government, Julius Berger Plc, others who made possible the official re-opening of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, ahead of the deadline.

It will be recalled that the airport was shut down  March 8 for six weeks to pave way for rehabilitation of the runway and was billed to be re-opened today, April 19.

The President was elated that the authorities met the deadline 24 hours ahead of the official date of reopening.

In a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari said he “looked forward to such display of inter-agency cooperation and efficiency in the operation of the entire Federal Government machinery.”

He also thanked Ethiopian Airlines for cooperating with the government during the period of the closure of Abuja airport, describing it as a good example of intra-African cooperation.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who spoke at the official re-opening of the airport, said government decided to reopen the airport 24 hours earlier because the runway rehabilitation was completed on schedule.

The minister commended Nigerians and air travelers for their resilience during the six weeks closure of the airport.

He said: “I also wish to thank all my colleagues who did it all and the media and the Nigerian people for standing by us.

“April 19 was the due date for us to conclude and open the airport based on our programme of work but that was not to say, we cannot open earlier.

“We are able to deliver the project earlier than anticipated, so we can open it. It is natural that we open it a day earlier.  Here we are today, we set out to achieve that target and we achieved it.”

A new Dreamliner Airbus A350 aircraft belonging to Ethiopian Airlines was the first international flight to land on the runway from Addis Ababa at exactly 12.07pm.

Hungarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Prof Gabor Ternak, who was at the airport at the re-opening, said the example set by the Federal Government was record breaking to other countries.

He said:  “It was a surprise that Abuja airport was re-opened a day earlier than scheduled.

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