By Onome Oghenetega
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, says facilities at the Asaba International Airport in Delta State are of world-class standard, and commended the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the turnaround and upgrade of the airport.
Sirika, who was in Asaba on Sunday to inspect facilities at the airport, hailed the state government for ensuring that facilities were upgraded to world standard.
Speaking after the inspection tour, minister said the Federal Government was proud of the state government’s efforts.
Sirika, who was conducted round the facilities by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu and Senior Policy Adviser to the Governor, Prof. Sylvester Monye, posited that the federal government would not compromise aviation safety rules and regulations.
The Aviation Minister, while commending the upgrade of the facilities including the upgrade of the runway and other ancilalliary works, saying that the federal government would not compromise in safety rules and regulation in the aviation industry.
He particularly commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for sticking to standards and for ensuring transparency in the recent concessioning process of the airport.
According to him, “From what I have seen here and from what we have on ground and also the planned expansion of the terminal building, the Asaba Airport, is indeed an international airport in that regard.
“This is a modest example of how things should be, we will carry out more of these inspections, as a ministry we are responsible for civil aviation and air transportation in general and we will not be found wanting in this regard.
“Coming here excites me, it shows me the courage and determination by the State Government to partner with the private sector to develop this airport.”
While commending Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on the recent concessioning of the airport, the minister promised to ensure that only the rights investors and regulation complaints are allowed to run the nation’s airports.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is always a very serious minded person, very focused, principled and always committed to doing the right thing, I have been informed how he ensured transparency in the concessioning of the Asaba Airport.
“The Asaba airport is strategically located, it is right there at the centre of very many good locations in the country, it is good for business, good for civil aviation, and we are delighted that the Delta State Government has taken aviation as one of the catalyst for growth and development and for identifying and also understanding the importance aviation could add to the economy of the region.
“Am here because we believed that the best way to manage our airports is to concession them to private hands to make them better managed and better operated and to get value for our money.
“The Delta State Government took up the challenge and they attended to so many conferences with us, they dialogued with us at the ministry and they decided on their own to concession the Asaba Airport and here we are after three tedious years, and being fully guided by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission ICRC to put this to reality.
“The Asaba Airport is on its way to being fully concessioned, they have feeder airlines that will operate as well as a principal airline coming in to Asaba and feeding other stations, they have a hotel, Business park, cargo and they have everything here an international airport needs to operate and all of these are from the private sector and if it works, this is a classical example of partnership with the private sector to develop our infrastructure for the common good of our people.”