There is concern about the workability of the Abuja Airport Terminal when completed next year as inadequate water and power supply may hamper its use. The National Assembly Joint Committee on Aviation disclosed that the $200 million terminal being constructed by Chinese Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC) is eighty per cent completed. The project’s completion has been fixed for February 2018.
The water and power supply levels in the old terminal cannot match the required capacity for equipment being put in the new terminal, and upgrading their capacity is outside the scope of the contract being handled by the Chinese construction giant.
The NASS Joint Committee, which embarked on a tour of the facility last week, expressed satisfaction with the level of work done by the contractor, urging the firm to ensure that everything required is fixed before the facility is put to use.
However, the Project Manager, Kelvin Lee, warned that unless there is an upgrade of existing power and water supply, the inuaguration of the terminal may not be on the agreed date because without adequate water and power supply, the facility would not be functional.
He urged the government to facilitate funding to accelerate the provision of support equipment that would enable the company deliver the terminal on schedule.
Lee said whle his firm is working to complete the terminal on agreed date, it will require government to relocate the control tower and fire station, which currently pose an obstacle to some sections of the new terminal.
Speaking in an interview after the tour, Aliero said the committee was working with the Ministry of Aviation on ways to secure funds to ensure that the terminal is delivered with all equipment in place.
Aliero said there is no going back on the construction of a second runway for Abuja Airport because of increasing passenger traffic and capacity for the airport.
The Abuja airport, according to him, is the only one among the major airports without a second runway. He added that the National Assembly has already made provision for the second runway for Abuja in next year’s budget.
Aliero said:”The Ministry of Aviation is already aware of the power and water challenge and I think they are doing something about it. And once they bring it to the notice of the legislature, we will do the needful and give necessary support because we need this terminal to be put to use immediately after completion.
“There is no point having a terminal without water and electricity to enable it function properly. The existing power and water supply is not adequate to accommodate the terminal without expansion or upgrade.”
On the completion of the terminal, Aliero said:”The terminal would be completed and commissioned before the end of next year. It is already eighty per cent completed. What is left to be done is just the finishing and the equipment are already on ground. The project manager said the control tower and fire station need to be relocated. If the fire station and control tower are relocated, may be we would commission the facility earlier than the end of next year.
”On the runway of the airport, Aliero said:” We are going to have a second runway because of capacity. We reached this conclusion from the things we have seen. Abuja is the only major city in Nigeria that has no second runway.
“Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Port Harcourt all have second runway. Abuja being the Federal Capital Territory deserves a second runway with the attendant passenger inflow and number of flights coming into the airport.
“We do not need a situation where we have to wait to move to Kaduna again with the horrendous experience before building a second runway.
“ This is why the National Assembly has approved the construction of second runway for Abuja and luckily the Ministry is working to ensure that the procurement and award of contract is done before the end of this year and if it is awarded there would be enough funding for next year,”he said.
Part of the sections of Abuja Airport toured by the National Assembly joint committee included Wing D of the terminal, the resurfaced runway, the new Chinese International Terminal, the flight decoding laboratory of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the proposed headquarters of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).