The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was reopened to flight operations on Tuesday, a day earlier than the scheduled date for the reopening as announced by the Federal Government.
The airport was shut on March 8 this year in order to allow Julius Berger Plc to carry out a total rehabilitation of its runway and taxiways for a period of six weeks, with the reopening scheduled for today (Wednesday).
Reacting to the development, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his excitement over the reopening of the airport.
In a three-paragraph statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President commended the efforts put in by the relevant ministries and security agencies as well as the Kaduna State Government.
He said he looked forward to such display of inter-agency cooperation and efficiency in the operation of the entire Federal Government machinery.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday commended the efforts of the Ministries of Transportation, Power, Works and Housing, the security agencies, Kaduna State Government, the contractor, Julius Berger, and others on the successful completion of work on the runway and reopening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, 24 hours ahead of the time limit.
“The President said that he looked forward to such display of inter-agency cooperation and efficiency in the operation of the entire Federal Government machinery.
“President Buhari also thanked Ethiopian Airlines for cooperating with the Nigerian government during the period of the closure of the Abuja airport, describing it as a good example of intra-African cooperation.”
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, reopened the airport on Tuesday, as an Ethiopian Airlines’ Airbus flight from Addis Ababa was the first to land on the rebuilt runway.
Sirika said the Federal Government decided to reopen the country’s second busiest airport a day earlier than schedule because the runway rehabilitation had been successfully completed.
He noted that even though the reopening date was supposed to be Wednesday, it was not bad to do it a day earlier.
The minister commended Nigerians and air travellers for their resilience during the six-week closure of the airport.
Sirika stated, “April 19 was the due date for us to conclude and reopen the airport based on our programme of work, but that is not to say we cannot reopen it earlier. We are able to deliver the project earlier than anticipated, so we can reopen it. It is natural that we reopen it a day earlier.
“Here we are today, we set out to achieve that target and we achieved it. I also wish to thank all my colleagues who did it all and the media and the Nigerian people for standing by us.”