There is danger looming and air travellers should know this. 

The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, issued an order after reeling out cases of dilapidation at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, South-East Nigeria.

It has become a source of worry for pilots of different airlines and the Senate is making a demand to ensure that nothing disastrous happens. 

Senator Chukwuka Utazi is from Enugu State and he brought before the Senate information about the poor state of the runway of the airport.

His motion paper read: "Informed that while aboard an Air Peace flight from Abuja, the pilot made a chilling announcement about the state of the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and enjoined passengers on board who can get the necessary authorities to listen to help in immediately setting about the resurfacing of the runway to forestall accident as the potholes and cracks pot-marking the runway make take-off and landing a bumpy and frightening undertaking. 

"Observe that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu is the first Airport of the Niger that was built even before Nigeria's independence and was only upgraded to the status of an International Airport on August 24, 2013, long after Port- Harcourt Airport was.

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"The runway before it was upgraded was 2,400 metres length and 45 metres width but after the upgrade, it was extended to 3000 metres length which can now take medium to large size aircraft".

The Senate said it was informed that a result of a technical appraisal shows that due to the high water table of the airport, water sips through and gets trapped between upper asphalt and bottom concrete.

"This persistent retention of water weakens asphalt and creates potholes and cracks as a result of the weight of landing aircraft which are now heavier than the aircraft of the 60s and 70s.'' 


"Palliative works carried out in the last quarter of 2017 to create water drains embedded in the asphalt surface end to end have not solved the problem as transition between new asphalt and old asphalt makes the surface rough and bumpy.

"The airport also lacks approach lights at two of the runway which has necessitated that the airport operates between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and the nearness to the runway to Orie Emene market attracts birds which perch around refuse dumps and abattoirs in the market that are awfully dangerous to aircraft engines especially during take-off and landing,' the order paper of the Senate further read.

It was highlighted that the South-East is the last, among all the geo-political zones of Nigeria to have an international airport and that the condition of the runway of the airport was disheartening and would not only expose users of the airport to harm and avoidable accident.

"It will also discourage international airlines and interests from using the airport.

"The upgrade of the airport to international status was a fulfilment of the dreams of the people of Southeast of Nigeria who are famed entrepreneurs and have long clamoured for direct flights to parts of the world where they engage in myriad of commercial activities in order to cut costs associated with logistics and distance," the Senate further stressed. 

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A demand was also made by the Senate from the ministry in charge of the sector, the Federal Ministry of Transport and other relevant authorities, to as a matter of emergency, resurface and reconstruct the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, and also extend the length of the Runway.

It is crisis lurking in the corner that should be addressed.  

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