Very soon, passengers will take off from Lagos, Abuja, P.H, Kano, Kaduna, London, New York, Beijing, Paris, Amsterdam etc and land in Anambra State.
Governor Willie Obiano on Wednesday, 24th of March, 2021 took Captain Musa Nuhu, DG of Nigeria Civil Aviation Agency (NACA) and his team on tour of the airport facilities and the runway of Anambra International Cargo and Passenger airport.
Speaking during inspection of the airport facilities, Gov Obiano said his administration considers the airport project a priority likewise other infrastructural projects it has embarked on, because of the multiplier economic effect.
According to the governor, executing the airport project will only leave the next government to focus on other areas and projects.
On the question of the idea behind the airport when there is Asaba, Enugu and Owerri airports
The governor said, his administration understand that there are lots of considerations in passengers and users choosing an airport to patronise such as (1) Proximity from home/office/departure point (2) State of origin effect/emotional and sentimental reasons/patronising your own to grow your state economy (3) Service availability e.g Cargo, hotels, shopping mall etc (4) Flight schedules and routes available etc. (5) Operating airlines (6) Ease of arriving at airport/ Note that traffic on Niger Bridge Onitsha sometimes lasts hours etc.
Meanwhile, below is points we think you should know:
1). The Anambra airport is not targeting only passengers and cargo users from Onitsha. The catchment is the whole Anambra state and South East states. If the cargo airport takes off, you don’t need to go to NAHCO shed in Lagos and queue up to clear your goods if you are selling them in the South East. Anambra airport is nearer.
2). Over time, Anambra entrepreneurs have demonstrated appreciable comparative advantage in airline management. Late Chief Ikwuemesi who owned Sosoliso airlines, Chief Allen Onyema, owner of Air Peace, and Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, owner of United Nigeria Airlines are all Ndi Anambra. Anambra -born Chief Chidi Anyaegbu, Owner of Chisco Transport has announced that the group’s Havila Airlines will take off shortly.
They have all indicated that they would make Anambra airport their hub.
Another critical point to note while assessing the viability of the Anambra airport is scalability. There is ample land in Umueri and the surrounding airport communities such as Nteje, Umunya, Aguleri etc for expansion. Remember the saying that ‘Rome was not built in a day’.
Even Heathrow airport in London, United Kingdom started with just Terminal one. Over time, it has developed to Terminals 2,3,4 and 5.
Successive governments in Anambra state can expand the airport and add to the pioneering and visionary work started by Governor Willie Obiano, who conceived and built the airport in under 2 years, following the disappointment with the Chinese Investors and Consortium that the airport was concessioned to originally in 2017 when the project was first flagged off under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The non-performance of that memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the Chinese Consortium and Anambra state government made Governor Obiano to attack the airport project with renewed vigour and innovative funding model, with Anambra state government fully funding and owning the airport as it is at the moment without incurring any debts.
According to the Governor, this was to fulfil the promise he made to Ndi Anambra that he would build them an airport.
By Dr. Uche Nworah