By Onozure Dania
The massive upgrade construction and installation of world class Instrument Landing Systems, ILS, going on at the Asaba International Airport, Delta State is certainly one of the enviable projects of this administration headed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
It is gigantic, capital intensive with long term socioeconomic gains.
Executive Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Communication, Mr Fred Oghenesivbe in a statement in Asaba, said that the airport which was downgraded for safety reasons by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, last year was nearing completion as its runway had been re-excavated to level the hills to international standard so as to enhance smooth landing and take off at the 3.4 km runway and 1.5km taxi-way, allowing only DASH 8Q 300-400 series light aircraft to fly in and out of the airport.
“The project entails physical, structural and technical upgrades such that new and old runways are to meet required standards. Standard Instrument Landing Systems, ILS, are being procured and installed for smooth and safe landing at night and during bad weather conditions.
“The ILS is a powerful navigation instrument that enhances visibility and greatly assist the captain and his co-pilot to land heavy duty passenger and cargo aircraft without much difficulty during bad weather conditions and at night.
“Governor Okowa is satisfied with speed of work at the airport and stated that funding the project to completion will not be a problem as the state government has consistently met financial obligations to enable the consultants and contractors deliver as at when due.”
“Upon completion, the Asaba International Airport is expected to serve the South-South, South-East and the state as a major aviation hub for holiday makers, business people and for cargo air freight.
“Major importers in the South-East axis of the commercial cities of Nnewi and Onitsha can directly fly their goods and equipment into Asaba to reduce cost of land transportation from M/M International airport Lagos to the South-East.
“The Asaba International Airport will provide thousands of jobs for skilled and unskilled persons as more ground staff and other professional persons for domestic and international airlines that will commence both scheduled and non-scheduled flights operations into the airport shall be recruited from both the aviation sector and other professional bodies.
“It follows that traders and corporate food vendors within the airport, in Asaba city as well as hotels providing holiday packages will experience increased patronage and annual turnover as operation is estimated to hit all time high of 3,000,0000 passengers within 12 months of commencement of full operations.
“Governor Okowa recently told newsmen while inspecting ongoing construction work at the Asaba International Airport that his administration places high premium on air safety hence special attention is devoted to ensure that the upgrade meets specific global standards that will rate the airport as one of the best in the world in terms of runway, taxiway, Instrument Landing Systems and other world class navigation equipment.
“Jobs will also be created in the transportation sector as more airport taxi operators will be engaged as well as haulage of goods and imported equipment from Asaba International Airport to various parts of South-South and South-East in line with Okowa administration prosperity for All Deltans mantra.”
At the moment, two domestic airlines; Aero Contractors and Arik Air operates the DASH Q8 300-400 series into Asaba International Airport daily. It is hoped that other domestic and international airlines will commence daily scheduled operations into and out of the airport after the upgrade and certification by NCAA and other global aviation regulatory agencies.