Speaking on the development, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Yemi Olowolabi, said the decision of the Federal government to upgrade the airport followed was part of the efforts of the present administration in the state to turn the airport to the hub of commercial activities.
Olowolabi said the inclusion of the Akure Airport was a sequel to the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to inject N6bn for the acquisition of information and landing systems for four airports in the country.
The commissioner said the Akure Airport became one of the beneficiaries of the FEC’s N6bn approval because of Governor Akeredolu’s efforts aimed at showcasing the investible potential of Ondo State to the global business community.
According to the commissioner, since the inception of Governor Akeredolu’s administration in the state, several steps have been taken to attract global attention to the Akure Airport.
Olowolabi said: “Governor Akeredolu, through patronage, helped revived the moribund Lagos-Akure route and also activated the Abuja-Akure route.
“It will interest you that both routes now operate daily flights to the state.”
He added that within the first one year of Akeredolu office, the attention the governor paid to the Akure Airport brought about the collaboration between the state and the Federal Airport Authority.
Olowolabi said the collaboration led to the building of a temporary terminal due to the encouraging traffic at the facility.
He said: ”The governor facilitated the coming of Air Peace Airlines to the state which flies Lagos-Akure route and also encouraged Overland Airways on Abuja- Akure route; both now operate daily to and fro the state capital.
”The friendly disposition of Governor Akeredolu towards the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is no doubt yielding positive results for us in Ondo State.”
Olowolabi expressed optimism that the governor before the end of his first term in office would fully change the fortunes of the state.
“And may I say, several things will come our way very soon, I pray our eyes will see the movement of our Sunshine State to a vibrantly productive state,” he said.
The Federal Executive Council at its weekly meeting presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo last week approved contracts totalling N6bn for four different airports in the country.
Briefing newsmen on details of the approval, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed that N2.588bn was approved for an aeronautical information system that would give accurate information, including weather information, to pilots and other aviators.
He also said the council approved N1.188bn to upgrade the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to Category III status.
The Minister added that the contract would include the provision of Instrument Landing System for aircraft operations in harsh weather conditions.
He stated that N1.175bn was approved to upgrade the Akure and Benin airports to Category II status, saying the contracts will be completed within 20 weeks.
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