By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has said it was still considering coming up with a national carrier and may be possibly launched in the third quarter of 2020.
Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, who made this disclosure after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja on Wednesday, stated that the airline would take-off with restricted operations only within Nigeria at the initial stage.
The Minister also spoke on other issues in the Nigerian aviation sector, stating that the difficulties in acquiring quarry dust for the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State was the reason why the completion was running behind schedule.
He added that in order to have a sustainable airport, quarry dust was a more durable raw material than ordinary sand in the construction of runways. According to him, it is the intention of FG to build the most durable runway in the country for the airport.
He said the contractors needed nothing less than 2,000 tonnes of quarry dust daily for the construction and are currently run out of the commodity in Enugu.
According to the Aviation Minister, the contractors have had to resort to sourcing the material from neighbouring states where he said they could only get as little as 900 tonnes per day.
However, he assured that the project should be completed before the Easter break as scheduled.
“I think the main challenge we have in Enugu is the quarry dust. This quarry dust in the design of Enugu runway, so that we will get a very strong runway better than any other runway in the country.
“We decided to change sand to quarry dust. Now that quarry dust we will be requiring 1,500 tonnes every day. If we are going to work day and night, we will be requiring 2,500 tonnes of quarry dust every day.
“Now, we have exhausted all the quarries in and around Enugu, we are getting about sometimes 900 tonnes. We are going into the neighbouring states to be scouting for this quarry dust.
“I am confident that we will continue to get the quarry dust even if it means to pay extra for transportation.
“And if we are getting that quarry dust, we will deliver this project before Easter 2020, and by God’s grace, we will continue and get this quarry dust, it has been a challenge since we started,” he told newsmen.
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