The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, on Saturday inaugurated the rehabilitated multi million naira Ibadan Airport building.
Sirika said at the inauguration that the airport was vital to the socio economic activities of the South West Zone, adding that the Federal Government was aware of its critical importance.
He said: “This city of Ibadan is indeed a pillar city in West Africa, just like Kano and the importance of Ibadan as a city, its environs and the rich history, culture, tradition, trade, commerce and the size of the population are too important to be ignored.
“Against this background, the Ministry of Transportation and Aviation decided to rehabilitate the Ibadan terminal building and some other associated works, including the perimeter fence of the airport so as to recreate the activities around the airport and return it to its past glory.”
“We have achieved this feat as part of the 157 projects that we undertook during this administration and we completed 134 of them with this as one of them.”
He promised that government would continue to embark on projects that would uplift the standard of the aviation industry.
Victor Akinyelure, the Ibadan Airport Manager, said that the airport was under utilised, adding that the renovation would enhance its growth.
He said: “Ibadan has a lot of potentials and upgrading the airport will make us to operate actively.
“When I came on board with my management team, we did our survey and we discovered that more than 3,000 people travel from Ibadan to the South East, including Enugu, Port Harcourt, Imo and so on.
“We also discovered that more than 2,000 people travel from Ibadan to all these West African countries.
“What we are now looking at is how this airport can capture about 50 per cent of those people and it will be good for us.”
The manager, who also disclosed that the airport runway was 2,400 by 60 meters, said it needed to be extended to be able to accommodate larger aircrafts.
He added: “Apart from that, we also believe that they will get us the Instrument Landing System which is very critical to safe landing and so many other things.”
In his remarks, Senator Olusoji Akanbi representing Oyo South Senatorial District, said efforts were being made to ensure that Ibadan Airport functioned at full capacity like those in Lagos and other cities.
Akanbi, who commended the ministry for the rehabilitation work, urged government to do more to enable pilgrims fly directly from Ibadan.
He also noted that upgrading the airport would decongest Lagos Airport.