The reconstruction of the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, has reached 57.5% completion, mid-way into the six weeks earmarked for the project, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed in Abuja on Thursday.
“Work is going on smoothly as you can see. We have taken you round and everything is in order,” Senator Sirika said when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, led a team of journalists on an inspection tour of the project.
“The contractor has mobilised fully and we have now gone about 57.5% of the total work, which is good, which shows that we are on course, which shows that we are on time, which shows that we are doing what we are supposed to do to ensure that the runway is opened come 19th of April,” he said.
The Minister of State for Aviation said in addition to the opening of the runway at the expiration of the six-week target, an upgraded terminal to ensure passenger comfort, in line with the protocol of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), will also be ready.
“This airport will be opened come 19th of April and it will not only be opened at the time but the terminal building will wear a new look.
“We are doing a complete rehabilitation of Terminal D of the International Airport. We will put escalators and lifts at the terminal and also we are opening a lounge for the physically challenged and the elderly,” he stated.
Senator Sirika said work on the runway is also going on simultaneously with lighting installation and laying of cables, which have also reached an advanced stage.
He said for the first time in Nigeria, glasphalt – a variety of asphalt that uses crushed glass – is being used to reinforce the runway and also prevent cracks.
In his remarks, the Minister of Information and Culture said the inspection tour is aimed at providing first-hand experience for the journalists on the progress so far made on the reconstruction of the runway.
He said: “Last week Tuesday, we took a trip by train to Kaduna together. We experienced the train ride, we saw the train station and the Honourable Minister (of State for Aviation) received us at the airport, where we were taken round the operations at the Kaduna Airport and we came back together by road to give you a wholesome and complete experience of the efforts we have put in place to ensure minimal inconvenience and maximum security and safety, occasioned by the temporary closure of the airport
“We believe it’s only fitting that we bring you here today, since we have three weeks gone from the six weeks we promised, for you to come and see the extent of work that has been done.”
•Photo shows work in progress on the Abuja Airport runway on Thursday.