By Bunmi-Akanbi Awotiku
This misinformation and blackmail must stop. Sahara Reporters has been in tow spewing lies and misinforming the public.
Firstly: It says that the Airport was a fraud. This is outright outlandish and injustice to the Ekiti State government. How can you describe a world-class facility as a fraud? This facility is not a fraud. It met all international standards and best practices.
The Airport was classified under construction permit to be a Category 9 Airport. This is in terms of runway length, runway width, and the ver. For public information the runway length is 3.2km, the width is 60m, and the Airstrip would be 140m from the Centre of the runway.
Why these specifications?
This is because the critical aircraft is Boeing 747-400. The intention is to land the largest Aircraft in the world.
To have a test flight before the departure of JKF therefore, we only reduce the operational requirement to Category 5. This would take an airstrip 75m to the center of the runway. The fire cover was also reduced from 36,000 liters of water to 12,000 liters.
Notwithstanding this reduction, all regulatory conditions were met and obtained.
Secondly: Only military aircraft could land. The answer is No. Yes NAF aircraft AKR 42 was used. Aside from the color, the engine is the same as Civil Aircraft. There is no infraction here.
Thirdly: Weather information was not available for the flight. For God’s sake, this is not true. We already constructed a world-class Meteorological station where all relevant weather information was received. It is available for verification.
Fourthly: No Control Tower. Yes, you’re right. A Control tower is required. We are yet to start full operations. For the test flight, what is required is to establish ground-to-air communication between the Air traffic Controller with the Pilot. For the information of the public too, we had a mobile Tower manned by the Nigeria Airspace Management Authority personnel. No regulation was flouted.
Fifthly: No markings on the runway. This is equally untrue. We have started the markings from the Active Runway 21 to a reasonable extent to allow a Turboprop lightweight aircraft to land safely. The rain was disturbing when we started the marking. We gave the completion date as august 31st, 2022 but had unfavorable weather. Notwithstanding, we deliver to standards.
In Aviation, you don’t joke with Safety and security. We met all NCAR’s regulations and would never cut corners.
Calling us uncivilized is insulting and uncalled for. That all sons and daughters celebrated the landing and departure of an Aircraft in Ekiti safely is a manifestation of our development. The multiplier effect cannot be quantified immediately. A large chunk of passengers going through Akure Airport is Ekiti-bound passengers. We shall harvest this and more patronage.
Sixthly: it is a cargo airport, with no room for passengers. This is far from the truth. It is to serve both cargo and passengers. The Passenger apron is the first to be completed. This can accommodate three Boeing 737. The cargo apron is ongoing. This too can take in two Boeing 747.
Many facilities would be in place before operational flight commences. Scheduled flights need several clearances from the regulatory sector of the aviation industry and we would meet all requisite obligations.
Ekiti Airport has come to stay and would never be an abandoned project. It shall generate revenue for Ekiti. We are open to the world
Ekiti Airport Project Coordinator