The Federal Government at the weekend upgraded navigational facilities at Benin Airport to enable airlines and aircraft owners perform flights at night and periods when there is low visibility.
The upgrade of facilities at Benin Airport followed the installation of Precision Approach Lighting System and Instrument Landing System Category II, commissioned by the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
Speaking at the event, Sirika said government embarked on the project at Benin Airport as an intervention to complaints by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who had expressed worries on why aircraft cannot land at night, during bad weather and low visibility on account of lack of Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport.
Sirika said : ” From now on, you have the Instrument Landing System which can allow pilots in reduced visibility and bad weather to be able to shoot on approach and land in Benin, just like they will do in London. And also, it is no longer closure from 6pm. The operational capability of the airport has improved with the installation of these equipment.”
The minister said the Federal Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) through Nigeria Meteorological Services (NiMET) has constructed and donated a meteorological station to University of Benin (UNIBEN).
He hinted on the plan to construct a cargo terminal at the Benin Airport.
He said : “Here in Benin, We will site an Agro-allied Cargo Terminal. We will soon commence civil works and the governor had promised the state participation.”
Obaseki, in his response acknowledged a cordial relationship with the Federal Government to be able to partner on projects. “Benin Airport which was built over 60 years ago, is one of the oldest airports in the country because it was built in 1956. It is today being upgraded so that it can be ranked as an airport to match any other airport in this world by equipping it with the kind of instrument which a modern day airport should have.”
On the airport landing aids and the proposed cargo terminal, the governor commented: “For you to have economic growth, you need to have the infrastructure. People must be able to come into your economy and leave freely. With these air transportation infrastructure, it will complement the effort we are currently making in the area of agriculture, industrialization, tourism and culture and even education. What it means for us is that there is no excuses. Once people know that you can get in and out of Benin, then it helps business”
Obaseki expressed his appreciation to the minister on the NiMET upgrade of its facilities and the equipment donated to Edo State. “That donation in my view is one of the most significant investment anybody, any government and any city can make in the world today, because it helps you predict the weather accurately”.