By Segun Giwa
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in conjunction with a private company, Ala Resort Ltd., has concluded arrangements to turn the Akure Airport to an aerotropolis.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the resort, Mr Moyosola Niran-Oladunni, stated this in Akure on Monday during a news conference to herald the inauguration of the project.
Niran-Oladunni said that the project would be inaugurated on Tuesday with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FAAN and the management of the resort.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an aerotropolis is a metropolitan area developed in and well beyond an airport premises.
It involves the development of an airport based city, with air travel at its core, and surrounded by commercial, educational, entertainment, healthcare and hospitality centres.
Niran-Oladunni explained that the company was bringing ideas that would impact value on the state.
He said the aerotropolis, which would be first of its kind in sub-sahara Africa, would drive lives around the aviation industry.
According to Niran-Oladunni, the resort had begun moves on the aerotropolis since 2017 when experts were invited to assess the airport for its suitability for the project.
He revealed that FAAN had approved the project, which he said, would be constructed in phases including institutional, industrial, commercial and agricultural.
According to him, the aerotropolis will parade institutional zone including sports academy that can host any sport club, which will be built by Emirate Foundation and a medical centre to be built by a U.S. company.
“The industrial zone will also enable all materials to be used for the construction to be assembled and manufactured in the sector within,” he said.
Niran-Oladunni added that the aerotropolis had the potential to catalyse cargo business in the airport, saying that the airport authority would activate the cargo shed in the airport.
He disclosed that no fewer than 14,000 skilled workers would be engaged by the aerotropolis with the infrastructure facilities gulping N56 billion.
According to him, the project is being developed as a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) between Ala Resort Ltd. and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
“Ala Resort and aerotropolis will be a sprawling development for which air travel will constitute the driving force and central concept, surrounded by complementary developments of commercial, educational, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality and light industrial centres.
“Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to perform the ground-breaking, assisted by the Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika,” he said.
Also, the General Manager, Business Development, FAAN Headquarters, Mr Hycinth Ngwu, said the decision was anchored on a PPP geared toward developing an aerotropolis in the airport.
Ngwu assured that the project would be executed as planned and Akure Airport would revolutionise the way the authority generates revenue.
“It’s in the interest of all stakeholders to support the project. It will increase revenue base of the state and local government.
“Certainly, majority of the employees will come from the locality. They should support it because it will transform to their successes.
“We intend to replicate this in other airports. We started in Akure because it initially had the largest land mass before being overtaken recently by Abuja Airport,” he said.
The Airport Manager, Akure, Mrs Lynda Ezike, assured that the management and members staff of the airport were expectant and ready to support the proposed unprecedented developmental mega project.
“We are ready to support Ala Resort Ltd. in ensuring the success of this mega project which is for the betterment of all stakeholders,” she said.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Bayo Sekoni