The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to shut down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport has affected the flight operations of Ethiopian Airlines. The closure has led to the relocation of the planes of the foreign airline as the Federal Government said the airport would be closed until further notice.
Ethiopian Airlines said it would be changing location to continue its flight operation from September 3, 2019. The new location will be the Port Harcourt International airport in Rivers State. This is according to the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Mesfin Tasew.
Nairametrics reported last week that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport would be closed by the government. The airport was eventually shut on August 24, 2019. Several circumstances led to the closure which was first hinted in May this year. It was discovered that the closure would affect Air Peace as well.
The closure was disclosed by Henrietta Yakubu, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, on Saturday, August 17, 2019.
While the government said the closure was to resolve the existing safety and security concerns to flight operations, Sirika, in May, said several things posed threat to flights and passengers.
- Sirika said the Airport has a bad runway and landing aids.
- Another issue about the airport was the presence of a market nearby which attracts birds.
- Birds constantly collided with aeroplanes.
- The state radio mast was wrongly placed and was directly facing the runway.
Speaking on the relocation, Tasew said, “We have planned to shift the Enugu flight to Port Harcourt and we will start operations on September 3.
“We will continue operating from this airport until Enugu airport becomes ready. When Enugu is ready, we will go back to Enugu.”
Note: The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, supported the closure of the Enugu airport.
Meanwhile, Arik suspended flight operations to the airport a few months ago.