Governor of Imo State, Dist. Senator Hope Uzodimma has promised to assist the leadership of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on the standardization of the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri to enhance economic activity.
Governor Uzodimma gave the assurance on Saturday when he received in audience the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/Managing Director of FAAN and his team who were at the Governor’s Office on official duty.
The Governor told the FAAN-led CEO/MD, Captain Rabiu Yadudu that he has always believed that the Aviation Sector must be encouraged to be run professionally, noting that as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, he was key to the development of a roadmap on the reform of the aviation industry.
“I have always believed that FAAN must be encouraged to run the sector professionally. The industry is not what people think in terms of funding, the reason for government intervention.”
Governor Uzodimma said many people think that a good airport is having good terminal building, stressing that the issue of runway, perimeter fencing, aircraft parking lot, taxing way, security and insurance are indices that those who frequently fly take into consideration before buying ticket.
The Governor said the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport Owerri is commercially viable and attracts traffic and has the potentials of doing better if more attention is paid in standardizing the existing infrastructure, including the insurance policy around the airport.
He said since FAAN subscribes to membership of all world bodies and was committed to submitting to the ethics of the industry in line with global practices, the leadership should also hope to reap the benefit.
Governor Uzodimma told his visitors that they both “have a job to do” and urged Capt Yadudu to oblige him with the Status Report on the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport that ought to define where the place is now in terms of what has been done so that he can be properly guided.
“You have a willing partner. We have to just succeed,” the governor noted, adding that visible and invisible partnership with government is key to survival of airports.
Earlier, Capt Yadudu informed Governor Uzodimma that the Owerri airport has been maintaining a lead market and traffic for five years now in Nigeria and that the airport can move to the first or second position in the country if the necessary infrastructure are put in place to make the airport more competitive.
He regretted that it has become very difficult for the aviation sector to survive today, noting that post Covid-19 flying requires strategic thinking and that all hands must be on deck to pull out of the wools.
The FAAN boss appealed to the Governor to help facilitate the completion of the Cargo Operations Terminal by ensuring that the Runway whose length is currently 2,700metres and width 45 metres, are increased to 3000 metres of length and 60 metres of width respectively.
Captain Yadudu also told Governor Uzodimma that by assisting FAAN bring the Runway, Taxing Way, Parking Bay, and other challenges like security at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport to standard, chances are the airport will become No 1 or No 2 in Nigeria, and the implication will be increased revenue, more employment opportunities for the people, more economic activities and better national and international recognition for the airport and the host state.
Capt Yadudu, was accompanied to the meeting by the Director of Human Resources, Nnoris Anozie, Generral Manager Projects, Eng. Yemi Adeluso, the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport manager, Rejoice Ndudinachi, and Chairman Aviation Infrastructure, Eng. Oliver Eberendu.
Also in audience was the Imo State Commissioner for Special Projects, Simon Ebegbulem.