As people of the Southeast agonise over the continued closure of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to international flights, Ethiopian Airlines has stated its readiness to resume flight operations when approved.
Senait Ataklet, manager, said this on Wednesday, April 28, when she led the airlines’ team on a courtesy visit to Nnolim Nnaji, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, in Abuja
“Ethiopian Airlines is fully prepared to resume operations to Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, as soon the Federal Government gives the go-ahead for int heernational flights into the airport,” she said.
Ataklet also disclosed that the airline was equally planning to introduce cargo operation to the airport to cater for the needs of its South East passengers. She described Enugu route as an important one that the airline would not want to undermine. She hoped that Ethiopian Airlines would be the first to land in Akanu Ibiam International Airport when it is eventually reopened for international flights operations.
The Manager solicited the support of the Committee on Aviation. She further said the Ethiopian Airlines was ready to render assistance to Federal Government in setting up a National Carrier if given the opportunity.
She explained that the airline has garnered robust experience and capabilities in airline management and aircraft maintenance which would be put at the disposal of the proposed new national carrier.
Nnaji thanked the visitors and reaffirmed that the duty of the legislature is to make appropriate legislation and proper oversight functions for the benefit of the flying public and airlines.
He assured the team that his committee was determined to ensure that the industry is safe for flight operations through its oversight responsibility.
The Federal government reopened Akanu Ibiam International Airport on August 2020 after extensive renovation. The airport was closed in August 2019 for maintenance work, reconstruction of the facilities, and expansion of the runway. Domestic flight operations resumed immediately but international flights scheduled to commence on September 5, 2020, has not been a reality.
Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, enthused at the reopening: “It is a great pleasure for me to be in Enugu for this August occasion in the month of August for the reopening of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for flight operations. The local flight can come to start from today and the international flight on September 5, once the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force has opened the gate to come in. We are proud to say that this project is indeed a testimony to Mr. President’s commitment to infrastructure development in the country.”
The federal government committed N10 billion to the rehabilitation of the airport, but some critical infrastructure are said not to be ready for international flights.
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