The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has said that the Federal Government has approved the upgrade of the Benin Airport to international standard with a cargo terminal.
The minister disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State, on Monday.
The minister said the approval was due to the fact the Benin Airport is one of the oldest airports in Nigeria and that the zone needs a standard international airport to serve its growing economic interests.
He added that the airport will be fitted with necessary facilities within 12 months, as part of the plans to upgrade it to an international standard.
Sirika said: “Plans have been concluded to upgrade landing system with adequate radio equipment that will enable the airport handle both day and night operations, even in adverse weather conditions.
“There are plans to also extend the runway at the Benin Airport to enable it handle high volume of traffic with capacity to accommodate cargo planes.”
He further said, “Aviation connects businesses, trade, cultures, nations and people. With a standard airport in place, it becomes easy to achieve economic growth and development. We will work with Edo State Government to ensure that within the next 12 months, Benin Airport will become an International Standard Airport with all the necessary aviation equipment in place.”
Governor Obaseki while expressing his appreciation to the Federal Government for the effort to make the Benin Airport an International Airport, said, “This is the most astonishing news I have heard as a governor this year.”
He praised the federal government for showing great commitment to support efforts to industrialise the state.
According to Obaseki, “Our hope is that all the economic activities that will be generated from this critical investment will drive commerce across the state and the country.”
He said his administration has taken giant stride to establish Benin Industrial Park, Gelegele Sea Port and other laudable investments.
The governor said:“The effort this administration has made since assuming office is gradually paying off with the assurance coming from the Minister that in a couple of months, work will commence in Benin Airport to upgrade it to international standard.
“This administration is working hard to transform Edo State to an economic hub. What is missing is rail transport linking the state with other parts of the country. The upgrade of the Benin Airport to international standard will complement our strategic geographical location.”