The Minister of Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, said government is set through the Bureau of Public Procurement to concession, Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt airports.
According to him, the concessionaire of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, would have to build a second runway and new terminal, adding that the government would also appoint transaction advisers to with BPP in the bidding.
Briefing journalists after inspecting the runway in company of the Minister State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, in Abuja, he said notices have been sent to airmen that they can now land safely on the runway.
He said dwindling sources of revenue, unfavourable exchange rate and several challenges facing government means that government can no longer afford the burden of running the airport, adding that the concession will start with the four big airports in the first instance.
According to him, the Abuja airport was built in 1982, and the runway meant to last for 20 years, adding that it’s load bearing capacity is designed to last for 20 years which means that since 2002, the runway is expected to fail.
“In the last 14 years ,there have not been any major repairs on the runway and unfortunately we have only one runway in Abuja.
“We have just inspected the runway in Abuja and seen where several portions have failed. However, government didn’t just fold its arm as President Muhamamadu Buhari has asked for quick short terms repairs to bring the runway into use.
“We have done this though, bigger planes cannot for now land in Abuja and we shall soon send notices to NOTAM.”
He said he had invited Julius Berger, CCECC, Reynolds, Dantata and Sawoe and CRCC to site to do inspections and research with a view to quote so that government can select the best.
The minister admitted that the country was in trying times with regards to sourcing for aviation fuel for airline operators.
He said: “There are challenges in getting aviation fuel and the Minister of State for Petroleum is ensuring to start negotiation that the product is available for use.
“I want to appeal to users in the situation that we find ourselves in. The petroleum ministry is doing its best to discharge their responsibility but some of the challenges are domicile in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the scarcity of foreign exchange though that is also being addressed as the CBN governor is doing his best.
In a brief remark, Kachikwu said: “Government has substantially liberalised the sector and the importation of aviation fuel is no longer an NNPC driven item but given the situation, we are doing all that we can on this to look at countries where there is availability of aviation fuel to solve the intermittent problem
“On the long term, we are look at some our fuel produced in the refineries and we are trying to put funds together to do that.
“We shall get solution to this quickly so that we can face the systemic issues of funding and see how the private sector can deliver aviation fuel.”