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P/H Airport: FG, Rivers State Partner on 2nd Runway

Posted by From Chuks Okocha in Port Harcourt and Ndubuisi Francis in Lagos on 2005/08/01 | Views: 2534 |

P/H Airport: FG, Rivers State Partner on 2nd Runway


The Federal and Rivers State Governments will soon be tackling the myriad problems that have beset the Port Harcourt Airport, particularly those bordering on runway, power supply, safety, security as and perimeter fencing.

The Federal and Rivers State Governments will soon be tackling the myriad problems that have beset the Port Harcourt Airport, particularly those bordering on runway, power supply, safety, security as and perimeter fencing.

The urgent measures are follow-up to the July 5, incident in which an Air France aircraft rammed into a herd of cows right on the runway of the airport. The incident led to closure of the runway for over eight hours.

To forestall the closure of the runway at the airport in the event of any incident or repair works, the Rivers State Government is to embark on the construction of a second runway for the airport in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Aviation.

The new development was sequel to a meeting between the Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili and the Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade in Port Harcourt at the weekend.

It was gathered Rivers State government chose to fund the runway project to forestall similar incident like the one involving Air France aircraft accident.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Emmanuel Okah, told THISDAY, "the governor took this decision to construct a second highway because of the cosmopolitan nature of Port Harcourt and its growing relevance in aviation.

The second runway is to ensure that the ugly incident which led to the closure of the airport because of the incident between the Air France and the cows did not repeat itself again."

The Governorís aide said already the Rivers State Government has commenced talks with the local communities in the area, "the Omagwa People" to determine the level of compensation. Since they will lose some position of the bank.
Meanwhile, Borishade has unfolded government's plan to change the situation at the Port Harcort airport.

After his tour of the airport at the weekend, Borishade said within two months, a major transformation would happen at the airport.

On the recurring power supply problem, he said: "I am exploring the possibility of having a sub-station from NEPA that will have a dedicated power supply to those facilities and of course upgrade their generators. And of course that's what we have discussed. By now we have a comprehensive plan.

"I have just said it that within the next two months, we will be able to talk about power supply problems as things of the past at the Port Harcourt Airport because we have identified what to do and we believe we can do it within this period of time", he said.

The minister who also spoke about perimeter fencing stated that it required intensive and immediate action and that apart from fencing, the security personnel to man the airport must be trained.

Borishade who wondered why the perimeter fencing which has been in the pipeline since 1984 could not be erected, said he had directed that a command post be immediately set up for effective security surveillance at the airport.

The minister who said implementation of some of the plans targeted for the airport would commence this week, assured that he would be a regular visitor to the airport until the problems are sorted out.

He described the airport as one with high capacity intelligence but deficient in physical facilities, adding that facilities for an international airport were available but encumbered by physical limitations.

According to him, the expansion of the terminal, apron, runway as well as the provision of reliable and stable power supply would transform the airport into an international standard.

The minister who praised the management of the airport for keeping it running in spite of the obvious limitations also applauded the dedication of the staff.
He assured the staff that their complaint about stagnation would be critically looked into and that appropriate action would be taken.


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