Lagos – An aviation expert, Capt. Dele Ore, has commended the Federal Government’s proposed closure of the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for repairs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ore, a former President of the Aviation Round Table (ART), made the remark while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Lagos.
NAN reports that the government had proposed to close the airport runway from March 8 to March 29 to effect repairs.
Ore noted that the airport runway had been in a deplorable condition for years, and needed urgent repairs to enhance the safety of passengers.
“They should close the runway until it meets international standards, and there is need for government to construct a second runway at the airport.
“We have been endangering the lives of our people for too long.
“That is why I support the government for having the courage to take this bold decision to close the Abuja airport runway for repairs,” he said.
Ore said the move was in the best interest of the country, despite the opposition from domestic and international airline operators.
According to him, the suggestion by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) that the runway should be closed partially will only create more safety concerns.
“The suggestion is not supported by the topography of the area where the airport is located.
“So, I believe the AON got it wrong because they were speaking unprofessionally,” he said.
Ore also backed the suggestion of the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, that airlines should use the Kaduna Airport as an alternative during the period.
He urged the government to begin the movement of equipment to the Kaduna airport, saying that it was a better alternative to Kano or Niger.
The former AON chief lauded the contributions of Sirika to the industry since he assumed office, urging all stakeholders to support him.
Ore also urged the government to appoint competent hands to pilot the affairs of the aviation agencies and find a lasting solution to the scarcity of aviation fuel in Nigeria.
He advised the government to review Nigeria’s Bi-lateral Air Service Agreements which had been unfavourable to domestic airlines.
The expert urged the government to establish a functional Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility.