The Akanu ibiam international airport, Enugu was built by the colonial masters as an aerodrome before it was commissioned a full blown airport in 1976, as a local airport and the only airport in the southeastern part of the country at the time. Igbos are very mobile people mainly due to their kind of economic engagement - trading, and this entails the movement of people and goods from place to place and even across borders.
But It is unbelievable to know that as at 2007, the south East has no international airport. This prompted the then president, Umar Musa Yar'adua to elevate the Akanu Ibiam airport to the status of an international airport, but no work was done on it to make it a reality up until the coming of Goodluck Jonathan. He awarded the contract for the upgrade and expansion of the airport. The first international flight landed in it in December 2010. Apart from the fact that complete work was not done on it, it has equally suffered abandonment in recent times making it unfit for use. This led the federal government to, on the 24th of August 2019 close the airport for the repair of the damaged portion especially, the international runway, and the upgrade of other sections to an acceptable international standard. There was also the need to install the landing aid, removal of radio mast near it, and the relocation of a market close to the airport for safety sake. Work began in earnest on it.
Yesterday, the 14th of July 2020, the federal government announced that the airport will be reopened on the 30th of August 2020 for use because all maintenance and upgrade work on it have been completed. This is commendable.
With this, the people of the south east do not have to look further for a functional International airport they will call their own. Indeed this is a big plus to the people of the zone, it will make air travel within the country, and to the outside of the country very easy for them because travellers will no longer have to go to Owerri or Asaba to get a connecting flight to either Lagos, porthacourt or Abuja for international flight.
Also, in the next two to three years, this airport will be one of the busiest, if not the busiest airport in the country. This will help to boost economic activities in the zone, create job opportunities - both direct and indirect. The direct jobs include employees of the airport authority, the staff of different airlines, while the indirect jobs include the taxi drivers, staff of different hotels around the airport, and even shopping malls.
Flights from other parts of the world can now land in the airport. This will give a new face to tourism in the zone because, before now, it was difficult to organise an international conference, meetings with attendants from different parts of the world, or any other gathering that will require people from outside the country to attend in the south east zone. This has made gatherings like this to either take place in Lagos, porthacourt or Abuja. But with this, it will boost tourist attraction and on the long run, increase the GDP of the South east due to foreign exchange from foreigners.
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