By Patience Danjuma
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commissioned the new terminal at the Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja built at the cost of $600 million ((N183 billion).
The President noted that the event represents yet another significant milestone for international air travellers in and out of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In an address delivered at the occasion, he recalled that on October 25, 2018, he commissioned Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal.
He said with the commissioning of the terminal, Nigeria is moving towards achieving and meeting global aviation standards in facilitation, passenger processing and service delivery in tandem with international best practices.
He added, “This administration recognises aviation as a catalyst for economic growth and as such will continue to encourage and support the actualization of projects that will place Nigerian Airports amongst the best in the world.
“This event today, reflects Government’s deliberate policy to sustain the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure. We are gradually closing the infrastructural deficit bedevilling our country.
“I am happy to note the progress being made in both the airports and sea ports on the implementation of the Executive Order on the Ease of Doing Business. Government officials manning these gateways are to sustain the momentum and ensure travellers in and out of the country have the best of experience as a necessary complement to the ultra-modern terminal.”
The president observed that Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal is the first airport terminal to be connected to the rail transport system in the Country and indeed in the region.
According to him, this has provided passengers and other airport users with a choice in the mode of transport to and from the city centre.
“I recall taking a ride from the City Metro station to the airport on the day the rail line was commissioned,” he stated.
The president assured that Government remains committed to developing Nigeria into Regional air transportation hub and thereby assuming its leadership in the aviation sub-sector in Africa.
He appreciated the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Transportation (Aviation), the Government of the Peoples Republic of China and the China Exim Bank for their financial support and the various roles they played leading to the successful completion of this project.
Buhari commended the contractor Messrs CCECC for delivering this project on time.
In his address at the occasion, the Minister of State for Aviation noted that the commissioning is the second in the series of airport terminals to be commissioned from the projects funded by the China-Exim bank loan of $500 million with a counterpart funding of $100 million from the debt management office.
He said from political and economic perspectives, the Abuja airport is very strategic to Nigeria not only because it is the gateway to the nations capital but also because it the second busiest airport in the country and the fastest growing in passenger traffic in West and Central Africa, with an average growth rate of 8%, where the world average growth is 5.8%. The Airport processed 5,709,012 passengers in 2017.
He said this volume equals to about 13 times the total number of passengers recorded by Ghana as a country.
He said the terminal building has an annual passenger capacity of 15 million covering a space of approximately 56,000sqm.
It also has facilities such as 72 check-in counters, five baggage collection carousels, 28 immigration desks at arrival and 16 at departure, eight security screening points, eight passenger boarding bridges, walkway to link the FCT metro rail, an additional apron for remote parking of aircraft, linkway to domestic wing and many other facilities that are properly designed and laid out in accordance with modern requirements for airport operations.
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