By Martin Inyangetoh & Glory James
There is no gainsaying the fact that, there are many life touching projects in the pool of consideration, but the choice of picking the ones that can best serve the anticipated purpose for long and short term reasons in line with the 8-point agenda has never been a tough task for the Emmanuel’s led administration.
Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has been able to make the right choice of investing in a process that will help turn Akwa Ibom into a choice destination for Aviation Development and Investment.That is why, for more than Six years on, His Excellency has shown an avowed commitment, focus and solemnity in leaving behind audacious and evolutionary legacies as his footprint of leadership in Aviation Sector.
Methinks, the Governor’s decision to sufficiently key into this globally, technically and highly regulated Aviation Business, is no less a choice born out of tremendous enthusiasm to turnaround the economic serendipity of the state, considering the magnitude of the evolutionary output that is anticipated to stem from it operation.He has visionarily seen how indispensable the sector is, in the Socio-Economic development process of the state, hence the need to prioritize the humongous infrastructural investment.
Little wonder his unwavering zeal towards repositioning the state to become an Aviation Hub in Nigeria and Africa by extension, remains exemplary.The ongoing construction of one of the smartest Terminal Building that is efficiently planned, aesthetically designed, economically positioned, futuristically constructed with expansion flexibility and capability features, that meet International standard in Akwa Ibom State is a testament to this actuality.In less than two years, the state will pride itself as the only Unit of the Federation that will set the uncommon pace of having a world-class Terminal Building that will meet the current and future growth of passenger rate and technology demands.
Upon completion of the Victor Attah International (VAIA)Terminal Building, this masterpiece with the latest high-tech equipment and facilities, adequate security, safety, and comfort for all Airlines, Air Travelers and other Airport Users; will aid the VAIA to effectively and efficiently carter for the growing freight traffic for both Domestic and International flight operations with anticipated dominance of the National, Regional and Continental airspace.
Handled by a Turkish Construction Company, VKS Construction Company Limited and currently at the roofing level, the aesthetically designed and futuristically constructed building is gradually taking the desired shape with strict compliance to International Aviation standards, set and monitored by International bodies like, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The 3-storey building sitting on a total area of about 23,000M, spanning 183M in length, 117M in width and a height of 14.5M is billed to house the International and domestic wings with the ground floor serving as the Check-in Concourse, the first floor will be for Arrival while the second floor will be the Departure Area. It will have four Escalators, Seven Lifts and Staircases for ease of movement within the facility and six Boarding Bridges with each having a lift and staircase.It will commence operation with one Code-F and four Codes-C stands on the Apron, 5 Air Bridges and a Bus Gate to serve remote stands.
This World best smart Aviation edifice will serve as a dual purpose for domestic and international passengers, likewise allow direct flight connection amongst States and major destinations around the world.It has the capacity to handle future demands of passengers with a flexible and adaptable framework that can respond to the increase in Air Traffic Movement (ATM) per hour within the next 50 years forecasted to reach a maximum of 1,166,045 movements by 2030.It will provide conducive atmosphere that would ease the stress of purchasing tickets, checking-in the luggage, screening by Security operatives, comfortably waiting before departing or arriving while providing auxiliary facilities for travel related facilities with the necessary tools requisite for air transportation activities and ensure that all facilities streamline the productivity in the airport without interruption or interference of any form.
The Terminal Building will provide Passengers purchase tickets points, Transfer luggage points, routine security checks and scrutiny points, relaxation before transfer between ground transportation and facilities that allow them board and also disembark from an Aircraft as the case maybe.That is, interchange of passengers, cargo and minor maintenance can take place here. The Terminal will feature in- and- out Gates, Arrival Lounge, Departure Lounge security Clearance Point, Baggage Check-in, Baggage Carousels, Well-defined road network, Parking lots, Signs, Fire station, Motel, Customs and Immigration desk-points; Baggage reclaim hall; Outbound baggage hall; Shops and snack bars; Conveniences; Supporting office spaces, beverage lounges, other concessions and passenger services lounges.
Economically, the International Airport Terminal when completed, will indeed redefine the economic status quo of Akwa Ibom State, particularly in the areas of employment, tourism, inter-regional exports of goods and services because the support firms connected to the VAIA will service immediate and remote economic benefit through site fuel supplies, indigenous food, beverages and other business services that would ease business activity for the investors in the State.It will boost the viability of the state as it is gradually metamorphosing from a Civil Service State to an economic hub, which will certainly be a safe haven for investors.
However, when this anticipated sprawling infrastructure comes to full glare in less than two years time, the mammoth crowd that will certainly throng into the well decorated and organized venue of the inauguration with dignitaries drawn from all spheres of life, to witness the epoch making event, will sure forget the long wait for the building to come to the mainstream, disregard the much criticism on the humongous financial investment made and rather erupt in awe amidst wild pomp, pageantry and jubilation as the glorious years of basking in the euphoria of fulfilment in Aviation Development has finally come.It will sure be a great moment of gratefulness, a memorable day of appreciation and time of reflection on the divine benevolence upon Akwa Ibom and it’s citizens who believe in the Akwa Ibom project.