The Bayelsa State Government has said its airport is not operational because the airlines flying its route have sent their planes for a D-Check.
The state stated that the airport will be open to normal flight operations before the end of the month. According to the state, the absence of flights at the Bayelsa International Airport for some weeks was not its fault.
It also dismissed speculation in some quarters that the airport had been downgraded, saying the lull at the aviation facility had to do with technical issues involving two airline operators.
The State Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said this on Wednesday when the leadership of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bayelsa State Council, visited him at the Government House, Yenagoa.
He said Ibom Air and United Nigeria Airlines were carrying out a D-Check on their aircraft and this has affected their flight operations from their primary routes.
According to him, the D-Check is a major maintenance check to determine the airworthiness of an aircraft after 10 years of commercial flights. He said the state government was in touch with the management teams of both airlines.
Ewhrudjakpo stated, “I can assure you that the Governor Diri-led administration is very much on course. I know that you are going to ask us what is happening at the Bayelsa International Airport.
“There are a few issues, but they are not really our issues as a government per se. We are aware some persons are pushing the news that the airport has been downgraded. That is not true. The Bayelsa airport has not been downgraded.
“What happened is that the two airlines working with us have gone for a D-Check. The D-Check means a plane going for a major maintenance check after it had been put to flight operations for 10 years to determine its airworthiness.
“If you watch very well, even flights in their regular or primary routes, like the Port Harcourt to Abuja route, have now been reduced to only one daily flight.”