Minister of state for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the weekend, commissioned night landing equipment at the Benin Airport.
The move was meant to officially revive night operations at the 63-year old Airport.
Speaking at the commissioning, Sirika, commended the Edo state Governor Godwin Obaseki for facilitating the commencement of night operations at the Benin Airport.
“The operational capacity of the Benin City Airport has tremendously improved as we can now guarantee safe landing in reduced visibility and in bad weather condition. Aircraft can now land in Benin Airport at night. No more closure of the Airport by 6 pm.
We have both ground and satellite-based equipment at the Airport in such a way that if the ground base equipment fails, the satellite base equipment will work to ensure safe landing at the Airport either in the day or at night,” the Minister said.
Speaking on further plans to maximise the use of the airport, Sirika said works have reached an advanced stage in building an Agro-allied Cargo Terminal at the Benin Airport, adding that the work on the civil structures has commenced with the support of Governor Obaseki. “We are bringing a Cargo terminal to Benin to facilitate exportation of perishable agricultural products and other produce targeted at foreign markets.”
He noted that the Federal Ministry of transportation through Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has constructed and donated a meteorological station at the University of Benin (UNIBEN). “The opening of the office is part of the effort of the Federal Government to boost transportation in Edo State, especially in terms of Aviation and weather forecasting. The weather forecasting can also be used by farmers to provide information on when it is a suitable time for planting,” the Minister added.
Governor Obaseki in response, said with the installation of the equipment and commencement of night landing facilities, the Airport, which is one of the oldest in Nigeria, can now compete with its peers across the world.
He commended the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), for their close working relationship with his administration for over a year and a half in ensuring the upgrade becomes a reality.
On the benefits of the upgrade to the State, Governor Obaseki said the development will transform the Benin Airport, noting, “The reason we insisted on upgrading facilities at the Benin Airport is that it is one of the five Airports with high passenger traffic in the country. With the facilities in place, we can now convince airlines to make night stop-over in the City to further increase passenger traffic to boost the state’s revenue base.”
The governor said equipment commissioned at the Airport include thunder and lightning system, Secure Aviation Data Information System (SADIS); Enhanced Simple Approach Lightening System, CAT ll and Instrument Landing System (ILS)/Distance Measuring Equipment (DME). Noting that the state facilitated the construction of two watch towers to provide military officers with a vantage point for proper surveillance of the equipment, he said “All this equipment were put together by the officials of NIMET, FAAN, NAMA and Edo State Government. Two 20 KVA generators and plant house were built by the state government as well.”
The governor said his administration is making efforts to ensure the state grows economically, which would be made possible through infrastructural development.
He said, as part of the effort to industrialise the state, construction work at the Benin Enterprise Park will commence at the end of the year.