Abuja second runway long overdue – NAAPE president

Abuja Airport

The President National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE ), Isaac Balami, said the construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was not negotiable.

Balami, in an interview on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the need for a second runway for the airport was long overdue.

He stated, “The issue of a second runway for Abuja airport is not negotiable because this is something that closed down the airport in the nation’s capital for six weeks.

“It is an insult and it shows that something is wrong and something urgent needs to be done because if an aircraft drops down on the only available runway, it will take hours to evacuate it.

“We don’t pray for it but if it happens, there will be a big problem.’’

On the ailing Arik Airline, Balami urged the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to engage capable hands to revive the fortunes of the airline.

He noted that AMCON, by its mandate was not trained to manage airlines, adding that airlines could only survive through prudent management.

NAAPE president reiterated the call for adequate supports for domestic airlines to enable them compete with their international counterparts.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika recently said that provision had been made for the Abuja second runway in the 2017 budget awaiting approval by the National Assembly.

He also said that the runway could be constructed in 24 months if approved in the budget.