Delta State House of Assembly has given approval for a loan facility of N5.021 billion towards the upgrading of the Asaba International Airport, which was downgraded by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on account of alleged lapses in the runway and taxiways. A request dated Tuesday, September 8, 2015 was forwarded to the state legislature by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for guarantee of the facility for ULO Consultants Limited, the contracting firm handling rehabilitation work at the Asaba Airport. The construction firm was pre-qualified by the Nigerian aviation authority to undertake the airport rehabilitation work, said the letter read at the house’s plenary, Hon Monday Igbuya.
Dr Okowa noted in the letter that the downgrading meant that large aircraft like the ‘Boeing 737’ were barred from the Asaba Airport, though smaller aircraft like the D8 and Jets of maximum take-off weight of 25 metric tones were authorised by the NCAA to operate at the airport. He said that the downgrading prompted the setting up of a “Ministerial Task Force on Safety Gap Analysis Review and Audit of Asaba Airport”, which subsequently assessed and identified all safety gaps in the airport to ensure proper rejig rehabilitation and upgrading. After series of meetings a remedial work plan was drawn up and ULO Consultants Limited was pre-qualified by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as the company was involved in the initial construction of the airport, the governor revealed. A loan of N5.021bn would, therefore, be guaranteed for the construction firm following the ascent to the governor’s request by state lawmakers.