The Federal Government of Nigeria has said that it will relocate the airport in Benin from its present site to a more convenient one.
The chairman of the board directors of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA,
Alhaji Abubakar Kao Baraje told the Oba of Benin that the airport would be relocated for the comfort of the palace and the indigenes in the area.
THEWILL Newspaper gathered from Benin that the expenses for the relocation would no longer be accommodated in the 2010 budget but in the 2011 bill to give ample opportunity for the preparation and relocation.
He also solicited the support of the Oba on a land and area that would be convenient for it when government begins its plans.
While saying that the relocation plan is of the long term proposal by government, Baraje said the short term proposal to curb the high noise level from the aircraft while landing was that aircraft would now be diverted to another runway 05 for landing adding that the diversion would minimize the noise level being experienced over the palace.
He cautioned that the diversion is subject however, to weather and safety instruction from weather reports.
He said NAMA would meet with other agencies such as like the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), on the relocation of the airport to a more acceptable site.
“We will meet with our sister agencies and talk on the permanent solution to the crisis, which is the relocation of the airport to a more convenient site, but in doing this, we will need the full cooperation of the palace in helping us with a permanent site”, he said.
The present Oba and past ones had made several complains about the high noise level and threat pose to the palace and those living around the airport adding that the complaints are not just coming now but had been since 1936 when the last Oba flew over the palace and complained about the proximity of the airport to the palace.
Baraje however said that the plans to relocate the palace is also borne out of the fact that it is now located within the town and a river that normally causes unfavourable weather condition for landing and take-off of aircraft.
He said there is a lot of risks and hazards in the location of the airport within the town, hence the need to start planning for relocation.
Meanwhile, a new Instrument Landing facility that would aid proper and seamless landing would be installed at the airport this week, as part of efforts at reengineering the airport.