The Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja is ready for use again after the completion of the repair of its only runway.
The repair was meant to be completed and ready for use by Wednesday, April 19, but two days ahead of that day, it has been declared fit for use.
Ethiopian Airlines, which was the first international airline to land at Kaduna International Airport where flights were diverted to when the Abuja airport was been repaired, also led the way in the use of the revamped Abuja airport. Its’ flight was scheduled to land on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, other airlines have announced their flights to and from Abuja will resume by Wednesday.
The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Usman Muktar, on Monday certified the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja ready for operation.
He said the airport could be opened on Wednesday.
Muktar stated this while speaking with newsmen during an inspection of the airport’s runway on Monday in Abuja.
The Abuja airport was closed on March 8 for six weeks for the rehabilitation of its 3.6km runway.
Muktar disclosed that NCAA had concluded the second phase of inspection as a follow-up to the recommendations made to the contractors to correct some areas of concern earlier identified by a team of experts.
According to him, they inspected the runway on Sunday and made some observations, but the findings that were found were not too safety critical.
He added, however, that the concerns were rectified on Monday. “We have carried out the inspection and we have confirmed that the job has been done quite satisfactorily in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices.
“So, the airport, the runway is very ready to accept flight operations safely.
“By this, we are declaring that the airport and its runway are quite operational at the time that has been determined as the official opening of this airport,” he declared.
Muktar said his agency has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to all aviators worldwide that the airport is ready for reopening on Wednesday as scheduled.
On the calibration of the airport, he said that nothing had been tampered with as far as the instrument landing system (ILS) was concerned to warrant recalibration.
According to him, calibrations are normally scheduled and very soon, the airport will also be calibrated along with others.
“It will be normal routine calibration which will be applicable to other airports that are due for recalibration,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Saleh Dunoma, had said that the runway was fully ready for reopening and confirmed that it had been completely cleaned up.
Dunoma said NCAA had given the operators a “clean bill of health”, adding that some of the observations raised by the team of experts on the repair of the runway had been corrected.
He explained that the runway was cleared “because we have our technical team working across the length and breadth of the runway to make sure that every detail is observed”.
“That is why all equipment have been evacuated from the runway. Later, all the professionals at NCAA and FAAN will carry out a detailed inspection again to ensure that all debris is cleaned up during final cleaning.
“Any moment from now, if there is any aircraft, we are ready to receive that aircraft, but of course, in aviation there are procedures because NOTAM has to be issued and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) will do that and then we are ready,” he said.
In line with the green light given on the Abuja airport, Air Peace, one of Nigeria’s domestic airlines, on Monday said it would resume flights to the airport on Wednesday.