Africa: Nigerian Govt. Urged to Authorize Night Flights at Enugu Airport
Aviation industry operators and stakeholders from the South East geopolitical zone have called on the federal government to issue Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) approving the AkanuIbiam International Airport, Enugu to operate for 24 hours as an international airport.
Airlines that operate to the airport said the facility has airfield lighting and good runway as such should be allowed to operate to the airport in the night. An official of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), who spoke to THISDAY said what obtains now is that the airport closes by 6:00 pm and if any flight would come after that time the airline would pay about N500, 000 so that the generator would be switched on to power the runway lights for safe landing of the aircraft.
“But once the NOTAM is lifted the airport will operate for 24 hours. This will enable domestic airlines to operate into the airport in the night and for other international airlines to come to the airport. It will also make cargo operators to fly to the airport because the region demands a lot of cargo. “Already the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Customs, the Quaratine and all other government officials are already at the airport, so I don’t understand why the airport should not be allowed to operate 24 hours. The only thing is that the lights at the airport premises can be upgraded and the state government can help in this area,” the FAAN official said.
One of the leaders from the zone and former Secretary General of OhanezeN’Igbo, Chief NdukaEya told THISDAY at the weekend that the Enugu airport is ripe for full time operation because it is the only international airport in the South East geopolitical zone but is presently under utilised.
“The federal government should hearken to the demand of its people and give everyone a sense of belonging. Government should issue directive to make this airport operate 24 hours so that it will really be international airport in words and in action. Any leader that epitomises equity, justice and fair play can rule a people for 100 years and nobody will care. We are part of this country and we love this country, Nigeria. It is when we are denied what we should have that these agitations start.
Government should encourage healthy competition by giving every part of this country the opportunity to excel. So let them make Enugu airport operate for 24 hours and we will appreciate the federal government for it,” Chief Eya said. Since 2013 the airport was designated international, only Ethiopia Airlines has been operating to the facility.