The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria in conjunction with Ala Resort Limited has concluded arrangements to turn the Akure Airport into an aerotropolis.
The Chief Executive Officer of the resort, Mr Moyosola Niran-Oladunni, stated this in Akure on Monday, during a news conference to herald the inauguration of the project on Tuesday.
Niran-Oladunni said that the project would be inaugurated with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between FAAN and the management of the resort.
An aerotropolis is a metropolitan area developed in and well beyond the 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 the first of its kind in sub-Saharan 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 would parade institutional zone, including a sports academy that could host any sports club, which would be built by Emirate Foundation and a medical centre to be built by a US company.
The industrial zone would also enable all materials to be used for the construction to be assembled and manufactured in the sector within.
Niran-Oladunni added that the aerotropolis has the potential to catalyse cargo business in the airport, adding 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 public-private partnership between Ala Resort Limited and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
“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 speaking, the General Manager, Business Development, FAAN Headquarters, Mr Hycinth Ngwu, said the decision was anchored on private/public partnership geared towards 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 the 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 staff of the airport were expectant and ready to support the proposed unprecedented developmental mega project in the airport.
“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.