The chairman, senate committee on aviation, Mr. Smart Adeyemi has said that most Nigerian airports are unviable as they scarcely boast 500 passengers accessing the facilities yearly.
Adeyemi made the declaration at the weekend at the construction site of Anambra State International Cargo/Passenger Airport, Umueri after a joint senate/house of representatives committees on aviation inspection of the facility.
He said the Lagos Airport contributes a chunk of the revenue generated in Nigeria’s aviation industry.
“I mustn’t fail to say that most airports in Nigeria are not viable. Most of our airports don’t get up to 500 passengers per annum. Lagos airport contributes about 65 per cent of the revenue in the aviation industry,” he said.
Adeyemi said the committee was impressed by with the quality of work at the airport describing the facility as a “masterpiece.”
He said the airport would elevate the status of both the citizenry and the state’s revenue.
“Aviation industry is very important for the development of a nation. By my observation, this is one of the best airports. I have been privileged to travel to many countries, and each time I am in any airport around the world, I take out time to see what they have. I can attest that this is a massive project, and what you have just done is opening Anambra State up economically.
“You (Governor Obiano) have not only helped to accelerate economic development of the southeast; to me, what you have just done is beyond helping Anambra State economically. You’re not only helping Anambra and the southeast in general but also helping Nigeria as a whole,” he added.
“By doing so, you are also helping to open Nigeria up economically too. Aviation is key to development of any country. If you talk about economic development, you must talk about that aviation.
“I am not in doubt that apart from the length of the runway, the quality of the project here is key, especially being that it is a cargo airport that can take all manner of aircraft. The people of the southeastern region are very enterprising, and you have provided a platform for this region to reach its potential.
“I will tell you that whoever that will succeed you will have a job to do. The job will be to make this airport viable and not just for passengers but also for cargo. That person must start thinking of how to realise this. You have set the pace for your successor,” he said.
In his remarks, the state governor, Mr. Willie Obiano said the airport is a landmark for Anambra State and the southeast and assured that it would be opened for flights in April.
“This airport has the longest runway in Nigeria, except for the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. It is 3.7 kilometers, and if you add the two racers, that makes it 5.2 km. You can land or take off from either side of the runway, and as you can see, it is a dual carriage way.
“This airport is going to be the very best in Africa, with a satellite lighting system that has not been seen anywhere else in Africa. We did this deliberately because we envisage that it is going to be a very busy airport.
“In five days, we would have finished everything about the runway. The apron is completed; the control tower is a seven floor architectural piece. In one month’s time, the airport will be functional. It may interest you to know that we did not borrow any money from anywhere for this project,” he said.