The Ekiti Cargo Airport is yet to commence operation, a year after it was inaugurated by former Governor Kayode Fayemi with much fanfare in October 2022.
Sited along Ado-Ijan Road in Ado-Ekiti, almost close to the Afe Babalola University in the state capital, the multi-billion-naira cargo airport was awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd. (CCECC) Nigeria by Fayemi in 2019.
The airport is expected to accommodate cargo and passenger services, the former governor said while inaugurating the project.
He also described the airport as a dream come true for Ekiti people, saying the facility would boost the socio-economic growth and development of the state.
It is of a “world-class standard,” Fayemi later said in a series of tweets.
“Being a category 4E airport, this means we can accommodate large cargo – Aircrafts. The Cargo Apron 155m x 128m can conveniently accommodate two 747-400. The passenger apron 137m x 100.5m can also accommodate three Boeing 737.
“The runaway length is 3.2km, the width is 60m (45m full strength and 7-5m each at the shoulders). The terminal building is built to operate and process international and domestic passengers.”
However, KOKO TV NG gathered that the multi-billion-naira airport had yet to begin operation a year after as several mini-projects had not been completed at the facility.
One of them is the passenger terminal building, KOKO TV NG learnt.
Also, the interior part, which includes offices, a passenger lounge, and some parts of the floor, has not been plastered.
The runway and adjoining roads linking the airport to the expressway connecting the state capital have also not been completed except for the drainages.
The Air Traffic Control (ATC), which is one of the most important facilities in an airport, is also yet to be completed.
The primary purpose of ATC worldwide is to prevent collisions, organise and expedite the flow of air traffic, and provide information and other support for pilots.
The facility is responsible for the active runway surfaces. Air control clears aircraft for takeoff or landing, ensuring that prescribed runway separation will exist at all times.
If the air controller detects any unsafe conditions, a landing aircraft may be instructed to “go around” and be re-sequenced into the landing pattern.
This re-sequencing will depend on the type of flight and may be handled by the air controller, approach or terminal area controller.
Within the tower, a highly disciplined communication process between air control and ground control is an absolute necessity. Air control must ensure that ground control is aware of any operations that will impact the taxiways, and work with the approach radar controllers to create “gaps” in the arrival traffic to allow taxiing traffic to cross runways and to allow departing aircraft to take off.
Ground control needs to keep the air controllers aware of the traffic flow towards their runways to maximise runway utilisation through effective approach spacing. Crew resource management (CRM) procedures are often used to ensure this communication process is efficient and clear.
Within ATC, it is usually known as TRM (Team Resource Management) and the level of focus on TRM varies within different ATC organisations.
A source informed KOKO TV NG in October 2022 that Fayemi deceived the Ekiti people by requesting that the Nigerian Air Force release its fighter jet, which was capable of landing anywhere due to its design.
“Nothing has been completed at the airport, only the runway was rushed so that the fighter jet could land there. No plane can land there for now except for the likes of the military jet which can land anyway by design.
“No control system yet. He bribed and used the Nigerian Air Force to deceive the public that he completed the airport and a military aircraft was deployed, flown by an Ekiti indigene.
“All the visitors that attended the swearing-in flew to Akure from where most were ferried to Ado-Ekiti by helicopter for the ceremony. The new governor didn’t attend the opening of the airport and upon being sworn in, he froze all the state accounts. For now, Fayemi only inaugurated it in his name; so another person doesn’t take the glory. It’s nowhere near completion at all,” the source had said.
Efforts made by KOKO TV NG to reach the ex-governor on the phone failed as he did not answer his calls. He also did not reply to a text message sent to him.
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