The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has tasked the Federal Government with ensuring the construction of the much-talked-about second runway for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja in 2019.

The association said that the construction of the runway would make the airport more accessible and increase traffic inflow.

The Federal Government, through the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had included construction of second runway of Abuja Airport in the 2019 budget from the ministry.

The government had proposed N13bn for the singular exercise, which it said was already ongoing in its proposal to the National Assembly.

Although, some players in the sector had described the amount proposed for the construction of the second runway as outrageoust former Minister of Aviation under late President Umaru Yar’Adua, had proposed N63bn for the same project in 2009.

Abuja Airport is the second busiest in 2018 after the Lagos Airport with over four million passengers.

Speaking in Lagos at a workshop organised by the association, themed 'Promoting Safety in Nigeria', its President, Engr. Abedeego Galadima, said the construction would also go a long way to reduce costs for the indigenous airlines.

He emphasised that second runway for Abuja is very a important project to the sector, stressing that it would also serve as an alternative to the operating airlines in case of closure of the current one.

He said: “I wish to join other well–meaning Nigerians to congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, on his well-deserved reelection for a second term. At the same time, I wish to use this opportunity to call on him to use this term to actualise the realisation of the second Abuja runway project and others in the aviation road map document.”

He also advocated the launch of Nigeria Air, which was truncated in October 2018 after the much publicity, with expenses incurred by the government.

He explained that the emergence of a national carrier for the country would improve the status of Nigerian aviation, while the country would benefit more in terms of patronage and financial resources.

NAAPE, he stated, had for over three decades been at the forefront of advocating the rights, welfare and privileges of Nigerian pilots and engineers, adding that in furtherance of its efforts in promoting safety in the sector, the association recently instituted an award, the Annual Aviation Safety Award (AASA) for aviation organisations, both private and public.

Delivering his keynote address, the Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Engr. Akin Olateru, represented by a Director in AIB, Mr Mohammed Wali, stated that the importance of NAAPE could not be over-emphasised in the industry.

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