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Delta State government has announced that it has finally signed off the Asaba Airport facility to concessionaires after many months of discussions in a deal that will earn the state, at least, ₦100 million in concession fee yearly.
The strategic move to further develop the airport and make it run profitably (the first of such concession in the country), will also earn the state 2.5 percent yearly revenue earnings over the next 30 years that the concession agreement would run.
In a related development, the Osubi Airport in Warri, Delta State, is scheduled to reopen in the next two weeks after months of closure.
At the agreement signing ceremony between Delta State government and Asaba Airport Company Limited in Asaba on Tuesday, the State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, said the concession was motivated by the desire to have the critical facility developed into a full international air travel destination and profit-oriented asset for the host state.
‘Considering the cost alone, no state government can run an airport the way it should function to bring the maximum benefit to the people. So, we have decided to follow this route. I want the Delta people to know that this concession and the signing ceremony with the concessionaires today are in the best interest of the Delta people, and I hope that other States with state-owned airports will follow suit,’ Okowa said.
The previous administration built the facility and opened operations in 2008. It was, however, in 2015 downgraded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over dilapidated infrastructure and poor maintenance culture.
Okowa, on the assumption of office, embarked on the facility upgrade, including the construction of a new runway, Instrument landing system and field lighting to have the airport return to 24-hour operations in 2019.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK