Ibadan Airport To Be Expanded, Will Become Hub for Regional Air Transportation

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state has said the state is set to embark on a project to expand the runway of the Ibadan Airport so that it can have the capacity to take the bigger 747 aircraft adding that the government has plans to make Ibadan Airport the real alternative airport to Lagos and the hub for regional air transportation in Nigeria.

The Governor said this while receiving the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics, Air Vice Marshal Sunday Olanipekun Makinde and his entourage who paid him a courtesy visit this morning at the Governor’s office, Agodi, Ibadan.

The Governor also revealed that talks had started with the country’s leading airline, AirPeace to secure flights connecting Ibadan to Portharcourt and Abuja and will be finalised in two weeks.

He said, “We believe that the Airport in Ibadan should serve as a throw alternative airport to Lagos if it has the capacity to take the 747 bigger aircraft. So, we have a project that we are incubating right now. We are trying to expand the runway so that bigger aircraft can land in Ibadan.

“We are also looking at Ibadan as actually being the hub for regional air transportation. We are trying, even within the shortest possible time, to see if we can have a connection between Ibadan and Portharcourt. We are talking to Air Peace and they should be starting an operation flight from Ibadan to Abuja in the next two weeks. And Ibadan to Portharcourt should commence, once we have finalized the discussion that we are having with them. It means with all these activities we are bringing to the state and Ibadan Airport, we will need more cooperation and collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force.”

He further explained that the governor of Ogun State has agreed to partner with Oyo state to fix the 11km Akanran to Ijebu-Igbo Road adding that this will mean more traffic to the Ibadan Airport Once it starts full operation.

“About three days ago, I spoke with the governor of Ogun State and we both agreed that we can fix that 11km road that will take one from Akanran to Ijebu-Igbo. So, what that means is, from the airport, it will be a no-brainer for anyone coming from the Ijebu axis to even think about going to Lagos to fly.”

Meanwhile, Makinde commiserated with the Air Force on the loss of their officers in the Abuja air crash adding that one of the men who died was from Oyo State. He subsequently noted that the state government is trying to reach out to the family to give the support required.

Gov Makinde solicited more presence of the Nigerian Air Force in the state as he said the state is ready to build a base for the Nigerian Air Force near the Ibadan Airport.

He said, “Also, within the Airport area, if we have the base for Nigerian Air Force, definitely we have the land to start with from the scratch. I am prepared to have further discussion on that so that whatever we need to do from our side can quickly happen.”

In his comments, the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics, Air Vice Marshal Sunday Olanipekun Makinde appreciated the government of the state for his support to the Nigerian Air Force adding that such support was unprecedented in the history of Oyo State.

He said, “I want to thank you for the support you have been giving to military and other security agencies in the State, especially the Nigerian Air force. This has been unprecedented since you became the Governor of the State.

“The Executive Governor has promised to ensure our Air Force Comprehensive School is connected to the national grid and that has been a long-term coming. When I visited the Unit this morning, the Commander assured me that whatever the Governor says he will do, he will definitely do it. So, I am thanking you in anticipation Sir for that promise you have made for the Unit.

“He also mentioned about the patrol vehicle, that he knows it is coming. One point that he raised with me is that was an attempted issue of kidnap around the Air Force not too long ago, but I told him, it is left for you people on the ground here to ensure that whenever State’s resources are committed to your hands to provide security for the people, please use it judiciously. You must justify the confidence that has been reposed in you by doing the job properly.

He further assured Governor Makinde of the Air Force’s support towards ensuring security in the state.

“I want to assure the Governor that the NAF is committed to supporting the State efforts towards ensuring the security of lives and property. The NAF’s participation in Operation Burst will definitely continue and other functions by the current Chief of Air Staff.

“The NAF is ready to assist you in any way and any area that you require assistance to be able to provide the much-needed security for the people of Oyo State and this concerns all areas you might think of”, he concluded.

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