Abuja airport runway so damaged it must be shut for repairs – Julius Berger

Photo credit: FAAN

The Abuja airport runway is so damaged that it needs comprehensive repairs that necessitates it be shut down for six weeks, construction giant Julius Berger has said.

The Managing Director of Julius Berger, Wolfgang Goetsch, made this known in his submission before the Senate on Tuesday at plenary.

“There is absolutely no option than to close the runway for these six weeks because it is not a repair work. It is a new construction of the whole surface of the building.”

Mr. Goetsch said based on the extent of damage, the runway could be fixed without closing down the airport, but would take more than two years.

He said that if there were only spot damages, then it could be repaired in a localised way.

“It can be shut down in the night. The spot can be repaired in the morning and temporarily given back for usage.

“But the state of the runway in Abuja, extent of damage and deterioration. The whole runway from one end to the other end is damaged.

“This means that if the method of spot repair is loose, you start from one side of the runway, lock it in the night and in the morning to open it up for traffic.”

Mr. Goetsch said that the runway had to be monolithic needing interlocked layers to guarantee a life span of 10 years.

He said that it was in the interest of all stakeholders to ensure that the work on the runway was carried out as quickly as possible.

“On our end, we guarantee that within the 6 weeks, the repair work is done. This is subject to the fulfilment of the obligation of all stakeholders,” he said.

“Under the leadership of the Minister of State for Aviation, all stakeholders are on board.

“Everything is going on very smoothly according to plan and there is no doubt that the obligation of all stakeholders is fulfilled.”

The Nigerian Society of Engineers, however, said that it was possible to conduct the reconstruction of the runway without closing the airport.

“The society insists that it should be reconstructed immediately.”

President of the society, Otis Anyaeji, noted that closing the airport was like shutting down the country.

According to him, absence of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, meant lack of excess runway capacity to temporarily close down the only runway for repair.

He said that the society recommended for the runway to be re-constructed without closing the airport using segmented approach and known safety risk management procedures.


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  • El Patron

    I wonder why they cant just construct another run way and then close the first one and do comprehensive repairs

    • samG60

      Because of irresponsible leadership. The runway did not get to this state overnight. A serious government would have built a second runway to avoid closing down the airport of a nation’s capital city. Even if previous govts neglected to do their job, the CHANGE govt has had close to 2yrs to build a new 2nd runway and they did nothing. Were they waiting for the runway to miraculously heal itself? now causing us international embarrassment.

      • Finitri

        It doesn’t take 2 years to construct a runway!

        • musa aliyu

          How long will it take? Mark U it’s the repairs that will take the 2 years, because it will be intermittent.

          • Gary

            Yes, intermittent but the airport will remain open and Abuja not deprived of air access and the attendant costs. There already a report that relocating operations to Kaduna will cost over a billion Naira. That’s an additional cost for closing the airport.
            Tell us of anywhere in the world where the only airport in a capital city is closed down for one week in peacetime.

          • musa aliyu

            Only after U have told us a country where redundant runways are not built in case of rainy days.

      • Gary

        No, they had this hare-brained idea that they can concession the airport and saddle whoever wins to take responsibility for fixing the runway or building a new one. That is how smart this minister expects a private entity to undertake a capital project like building a runway as part of a management contract to run an airport.

        If the runway is as bad as JB and the minister are insisting, why has it remained operational and not shut down for emergency repairs once they knew the extent of damage?

        And by the way, it still makes sense to keep the airport open even if it take two years to fix or build another runway.

        • samG60

          I don’t know why they don’t get it. This is gross incompetence for me and in our usual way everyone seems to be trudging along like business as usual. Which serious country that is opened for business will close its capital’s only airport in peace time?

          • Gary

            Like someone said above, applying common sense is not as profitable for the personal interests of our policy makers.
            JB will of course charge a premium for the rush job which will in turn boost the kickbacks available to the contract awarders and project supervisors in government and the bureaucracy. That’s how the system works in Nigeria.
            The opportunities for the APC to openly chop are now limited due to Buhari’s boju- boju pretensions and the economy in recession.

            So they have to devise new avenues to make money for themselves and the party.

          • TRUSTIN BRIGHT

            Why the laziness? Embark on a personal research and be educated on the true state of affairs. Can you imagine a Judge giving a judgement without adequate facts?

        • TRUSTIN BRIGHT

          What ignorance!

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  • Apostel

    Nigerian Society of Engineers said: they can do it without closing the air port.
    My dear Nigerian Society of Engineers, just look around to what you call “Nigeria” its your hand work.

    Nigerian Society of Engineers = Useless morons.

  • Rommel

    So which airports were the disciples of Dumbo claiming before the elections that they refurbished? I mean the transformation ambassadors

    • sab

      Rommel, the hunt for 2019 election campaign fund is here, take it or leave it. Otherwise, if the runway is that bad as being depicted here, why has it been smoothly operational ever since without any complain?

      • Rommel

        The aerial infrared shots of the airport that I have seen indicates clearly that it is in very bad shape

      • TRUSTIN BRIGHT

        “operational ever since without any complain?” Where are you getting this from?? There was nothing like smooth operations. When Aircrafts land on such a bad runway, they must complain!

      • Mufu Ola

        To you the runway is not “that bad” because it is still being used. So we wait till disaster occur before u realize it’s truly bad? Some logic!

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        “Smoothly”?

        You need to see a real airport and runway, Mr. Sab

  • Kickboxer

    If the runway is that much damaged, how could Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM still agree to land there?

    Brainless Buhari ad his APC criminals are desparately trying to STEAL BILLIONS OF NAIRA for elections through the Abuja Airport “runway.”

    So brainless Buhari hired the same company which will “fix” the runway to tell Nigerians why thy should be awarded the contract.

    • TRUSTIN BRIGHT

      Absolute trash. Dig for facts!

      • Kickboxer

        now that they pay you N5,000 monthly, you could say anything to keep your lazy self from getting a real job.

        Talking of facts, Abuja to Kaduna road would cost N1.8 billion while the costs of “logistics” alone will be N1.1 billion to ensure that Kaduna is used when Abuja is “closed.” Son of two criminals, you get the gist yet?

  • Comfortkay

    The question why did we wait so long for the damages to take place? We lack maintainace culture in Nigeria and that is why most of our roads are bad. From Lokoja to Abuja you need two hours, is that not madness in 21 century.

  • East west

    Repair it now.
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  • Okokondem

    Nigerians have become unfazed by what others would consider shameful and embarrassing. I know many here would argue whether or not it is of any consequence, but I believe the optics matters. The fact that the first black president of the United States refused to visit the largest country in Africa says a lot about how we are perceived. Go ahead, ask what does it matter that Obama did not visit Nigeria in 8 years, in fact ever.

    Our country is seen as a disappointment to the African continent, and the black race in general. African countries believed in Nigeria, looked up to us with the hope that if we get right their chances of getting it right would increase.

    Not only did we not get right, are not getting it right, and may never get it right unless we change course. But that’s the problem, we can’t change course because as people stuck in a hole, we have ignored the fundamental first step to get out of the hole…stop digging!

    We have continued to repeat the same mistakes that landed us in the hole in the first place. We have continued to allow our members of the Parliament to allocate and appropriate to themselves large portions of the annual federal budget in what they call constituency allowance supposedly for capital projects in their constituencies that never come fruition.

    Every year, obscene amounts of federal allocations are set aside under recurrent expenditures for the upkeep of these largely unproductive men and women known as ‘honorables’ for their housing, clothing, housekeeping, traveling, cars, car maintenance and all manner of allowances and estacode all at the expense of capital expenditures needed for building and maintaining roads, bridges, hospitals and schools, etc.

    I do not know any other country on the face of the earth that would tolerate the these kinds of abuse by their so called leaders without repercussions.

    It’s so pathetic watching Nigerians of various religious, ethnic or regional backgrounds bicker on social media or other forums over whose embezzlement of the country’s commonwealth is or isn’t justified or excusable based on their association or affiliation with the embezzler. If the embezzler is a member of my party then he has committed no offense. If he is my fellow Yoruba, Ibo, Ijaw, or Hausa, etc., then he is justified in diverting and appropriating to himself/herself funds set aside for building a hospital, fixing a school, or resurfacing a stretch of the road.

    Nigerians, we should stop complaining. The reason corruption has festered and propagated in our country is our predisposition to materialism. We like having things we may not necessarily afford. We want things we are not merited. So, we steal, or embezzle public funds without compunction. We don’t care if the money was meant for paying pensions to retirees, old retirees.

    Who are we?