The Victor Attah International Airport new terminal building, which will include a 1000 capacity arrival/departure hall is billed for completion in 2022.
The project for the all automated terminal building which is estimated to process one million passengers a year started in July 2019 and is designed after Istanbul’s latest airport terminal in Turkey.
The Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Okpolupm Etteh, revealed this to newsmen during a tour of the airport in Uyo on Thursday.
Etteh said that the terminal building when completed would take care of both Domestic and International flights.
He said that the delay in completion of the terminal building was due to the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the entire world.
“If not for COVID-19, we were looking at completing this project by December this year but now, we are looking at the middle of next year, there is nothing we can do. Even the roofing sheets, we are still expecting them from Turkey.
“So far, so good we are very okay, but you know, even when you finish, you still need one or two months to test run all the electrical facilities before handing over.
“There are some few things that we have here in the terminal that they don’t have at the terminal in Istanbul, Turkey. Virtually everything here is going to be automated, even the lifts, the escalators, that is what makes this building a smart building.
“This terminal is designed to process a minimum of one million passengers a year. It has a sitting capacity of 1,000.
“The building is divided into two, one way is domestic, the other way is International. We have Immigration, we have customs, we have duty free shops, everything you have in an international airport,” Etteh said.
Etteh said that the state government was hoping the airport would translate to a hub for aviation operations in the region, with the completion of the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) section amongst other ongoing projects.
The commissioner said the airport would soon begin the operations of International flights within the subregion, once the aircrafts purchased for that purpose arrives in the state.
“This building is not only for domestic operations, but we are also looking at it becoming a regional hub, so there is going to be a lot of employment here, and there will be a lot of revenue for the Akwa Ibom State Government.
“We have so many projects around here. We are also working on the inside of the MRO for the completion of the MRO.
“Aviation is one investment that will bring so much investment and revenue to the state. That is why we just procured the brand-new aircraft that is about to arrive, those ones will do International flights within the sub region,” he said.
Mr Onur Uzel, the Project Manager of VKS Nig. Construction Ltd., the construction company handling the terminal building project, affirmed that the project was delayed due to COVID-19.
Uzel added that Turkey, where some of the materials for the construction was sourced from, was on lockdown and recently removed the restriction on movement occasioned by the pandemic.
He said that within 12 months the prohect would be completed and on completion, the project would be a landmark for the state and the country.