A viral image circulating on Facebook claims that the newly commissioned Ebonyi Airport has been abandoned by commercial airlines and transformed into a motor park. This news is gaining attention a few months after the airport’s inauguration.
Claim: The Ebonyi airport has been abandoned by commercial airlines
Verification: On April 27, 2023, the Muhammadu Buhari International Airport, Onueke, Ebonyi State was inaugurated. The inauguration ceremony was preceded by a press conference where the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Aviation and Technology, Mrs Obianuju Alo, disclosed that two flights will land at the airport, one from Abuja and another from Lagos. And subsequently, two flights will be landing every week, coming from Abuja and Lagos.
At the inauguration, Air Peace deployed two of its aircraft from scheduled service to Ebonyi State to mark the inaugural flight.
On May 8, 2023, another aircraft, with the tail number “5N-IZY” landed at the newly inaugurated airport, with the governor, Dave Umahi, on board. Investigations showed that the 5N-IZY aircraft is a bombardier challenger 604 that belongs to a private operator and was chartered by the governor.
The CDD War Room can confirm that since the Air Peace aircraft completed its inaugural flight, no commercial aircraft has operated in the Airport. Residents say few private aircraft have been landing directly at the airport while they have been using neighbouring states’ airports (for commercial flights) and completing the final lap of their journey by road.
We found that the Airport is still under the management of the Ebonyi state government and has not been handed over to the Federal Government. Therefore, the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has not deployed any personnel to the airport for operation.
Even though the airport is not yet operational since its inauguration, it has not been turned into a motor park.
Summary of our findings:
The N36 billion airport named the Muhammadu Buhari International Airport, Onueke, Ebonyi State is yet to become operational since its inauguration. All efforts to identify the reason for the delay in kickstarting commercial operation proved abortive. We can confirm that the airport has not been turned into a motor park, and is yet to commence commercial operation.