Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, yesterday confirmed an international status for the Asaba, Delta State Airport, saying the state government is living up to standards on the required facilities.
Sirika, who spoke with journalists after inspecting facilities at the facility said: “We are responsible for civil and aviation transportation and we won’t be found wanting in this regard. Coming here excites me as it shows Delta State Government’s determination and courage to partner with the private sector in developing this airport.
“Asaba is an important and strategic city in the centre of many important locations in the country. So, it is good for business, civil aviation and we are delighted that they have taken aviation as one of the catalysts for growth and development of the state, and they understand the importance of the aviation industry to the economy of the region.”
On the status of airport, he said an international airport does not connote the size of buildings neither does it make statement on the nature of terminal building itself.
Being international, he said, means you are able to have certain services like those of Customs, Immigration and others.
“If you are talking about the size of the runway, the question will be, will Asaba runway be able to take the capacity of such plans or will the terminal building serve high volumes of intending passengers? He asked.
Besides, the Imo State Government has commenced preliminary arrangements to engage the Federal Government in its quest to upgrade and expand the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri.
The State Government, by so doing, intends to use the avenue to boost aviation activities in the state and grow its economy.
Also, the state government has commenced moves to collaborate with the Nigeria Air Force to beef up ground security networks and air space in the state.
Governor Emeka Ihedioha disclosed this when the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Airline, Allen Onyema, and Air Officer Commanding, Ground Training Command, Enugu, Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, visited him in Owerri at the weekend.
On the airport, Ihedioha said he has had preliminary discussions with the aviation ministry, adding that the state government would formally approach the Federal Government on the detailed ground towards ensuring that the Imo Airport was opened
“substantially and developed to international standards” to meet the aviation needs.
Speaking, Onyema said he was in Imo to identify with Governor Ihedioha due to his “evidence-based determination, genuineness and commitment towards turning the state around and making it the economic hub of the region.”