The Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu reopened on Sunday after being shut for 371 days for repairs.

It has been shut since August 24 last year, with President Muhammadu Buhari approving N10 billion for rehabilitation work.

The rehabilitation also included an expansion of its runway.

It was resurfaced, bad stretches repairs, and then it was extended to accommodate larger aircraft.

The airport was also equipped with a new Category Two (CAT2) instrument landing system (ILS), airfield lighting, taxi lighting, among others to aid flight operations.

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika had promised to reopen the airport by April to commemorate the Easter celebration but the completion of the project was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic as workers temporarily deserted the site.

However, the airport is wearing a new look today as Aviation Minister on Saturday performed inaugural flight to the newly rehabilitated runway, to ascertain the quality of work done.

Also, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the manager of the airport, has done the requisite floor marking and other COVID-19 protocols ahead of the return of commercial flights.

An Air Peace flight with registration number 5N-BUV landed around 1:40 pm with dignitaries including the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West); Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji,  Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, among others.

Prior to that, another Dornier Aircraft with registration number 5N-FCT brought another set of dignitaries.

Minister of Aviation had said the President takes the job of rehabilitating the airport very seriously given its strategic importance to the economy of the South-east as the airport serves other neighbouring states like Ebonyi, Anambra, among others.

And it is the only international airport in the South East geopolitical region.

“We take this job very seriously. We know the importance of Enugu, not only being an international airport, we know that it is a centre for the South Eastern part of the country,  all of the commercial activities, the trading activities and festivities are domiciled and centred around this city, a very important city for that matter.

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