The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN, has given reasons why the federal government is constructing a second runway at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

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During a ministerial press briefing to mark President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office, held earlier in the week, the Minister said
“Since the Obasanjo era, it was controversy after controversy. Some efforts started during the last administration, so we have to acknowledge that.

“The necessity of a second runway has long been a critical issue for the nation’s capital. The danger of operating a nation’s capital with just one runway… Imagine foreign heads of state coming to Nigeria and there is a problem with the runway. Where are we going to divert them? Are we going to cancel the conference if they are coming for a conference?

“It is inconceivable that a nation’s capital would be operating on one runway and we have been doing it for many years,” he explained.

Keyamo disclosed that contractors had moved to the site and the construction of the second runway had started, adding that the ministry would ensure strict compliance with safety regulations and the continuous upward movement of Nigeria’s rating by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

He added that a significant development in Nigeria’s aviation sector was the resumption of cargo flights between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

“We have agreed that we are going to resume cargo flights between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. This has been suspended for a long time,” he announced.

He said “Globally, air cargo trade accounts for 35 per cent of the world trade and, according to the International Air Transport Association, attracts about $6tn annually. We were missing within that sector.

“The resumption of these flights is seen as a first step in a broader strategy to enhance Nigeria’s participation in global air cargo trade.”