Camey & Rock Holdings (Camey & Rock)’s foray into the aviation sector has paid off as scheduled commercial flights into Makurdi NAF Aerodrome begins from Monday, April 17, 2023 to be operated by Air Peace Airline with an initial three times weekly schedule from Lagos-Abuja-Makurdi. This new venture represents a significant milestone in the Benue State Government’s resolve to put Makurdi permanently on the global aviation map. This is a testament to the importance of collaborative efforts between the private sector and government in bringing about positive change through the provision of critical infrastructure.
Upon engagement of Camey & Rock by the Benue State Government in February 2021, we understood the importance of our mandate and the project deliverables. We swung into action by first identifying the reason for abortive attempts in the past to sustain scheduled commercial flights into Benue. The first step was to conduct extensive research and analysis to understand key steps to be taken and areas that needed intervention.
The first phase of the project focused on the resumption of commercial flights into Benue through the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) Aerodrome, Makurdi.
The journey started in March 2021 with the initiation of processes to facilitate an agreement to terms between key aviation agencies namely: the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) for the joint use of the NAF Airport Makurdi for military and civil aviation activities.
After months of negotiations, an agreement was reached and duly executed on 22nd November 2021, which marked a major milestone in the statutory procedure that will lead to the commencement of commercial flights into Benue State.
As part of the key requirement for compliance with global aviation operational standards, Camey & Rock had to facilitate the engagement of The Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) by the Benue State Government to carry out a comprehensive WGS-84 survey and flight procedure design for the Makurdi Airport to place Benue on global aviation map in accordance with World Geodetic System – 1984 (WGS-84) specifications. This procedure was completed by NAMA on 5th April 2022.
In compliance with the Civil Aviation Regulations and Aerodrome Standards Manual of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Benue State Government was mandated to provide certain critical equipment and infrastructure at the NAF Aerodrome, Makurdi to meet minimum standards for final certification. This phase included testing the runway, procurement of adequate fire cover (ARFF fire tender equipment), navigational aids, and other critical systems, which were all done in compliance with the requirement of the NCAA.
Upon completion of the implementation phase as mandated by the agency, we invited a team of NCAA Inspectors to evaluate and confirm the implementation status of the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the approval of civil aircraft operations into Makurdi Airport. The inspection was conducted between the 9th – 11th of December 2022.
The outcome of the NCAA inspection activities revealed that the Federal Airport Authority Nigeria (FAAN) has implemented the corrective action plan, indicating compliance with the minimum requirements for the approval of civil aircraft operations; the MoU between the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) and other designated service providers (FAAN, NAMA and NIMET) for joint use of the Makurdi NAF Aerodrome was duly signed as required by the Authority; and the MoU between FAAN and NAF was duly signed to respond in the area of fire cover for civil aircraft operations.
Having established the above, the NCAA graciously conveyed the Authority’s approval for joint Military/Civil operations into Makurdi Military Airport to enable AIR PEACE LIMITED operate in and out of the Airport with Embraer 145 or its equivalent as critical aircraft and fire category 6 in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs) Part 184.108.40.206, with effect from 22nd February 2023 on a Daylight Visual Flight Rules (VFR) sunrise and sunset basis only.
We are pleased to announce that the airline’s booking portal is now open for travelers to purchase their tickets.
The second phase of the project is the development and construction of the proposed New Makurdi Civil Aviation Airport.
Camey & Rock, in conjunction with the Benue State Government through a Public, Private Partnership (PPP) model, is set to develop a multi-billion naira ultra-modern Civil Aviation Airport to boost the economy of the state and attract foreign and local investors into Benue State.
Considering that the joint use of the NAF Aerodrome facility in Makurdi for military and civil flights is on a temporary basis, there is an urgent need for Benue State to build a permanent civil airport to enhance future expansion.
The process for the new airport started with preliminary feasibility and viability assessment conducted by Camey & Rock to ascertain the appropriate project structure to adopt to achieve this cogent objective. This was followed by an application to the Federal Ministry of Aviation (FMA) by the Benue State Government for approval to build the proposed civil aviation airport. After due consideration, the FMA responded promptly on 24th January 2022 informing us that a joint Ministerial Team is scheduled to carry out an on-the-spot inspection of various proposed sites near Makurdi to identify the most suitable location to site the project.
Camey & Rock team worked tirelessly with high precision in conjunction with Benue State Government agencies to ensure that minimum standards required to get approval were met. The inspection took place on 2nd February 2022, and the result was excellent. Precisely on 1st March 2022, we got the all-important Federal Government approval through the FMA, giving the nod for the development and construction of the New Makurdi Civil Aviation Airport at Kura, Gwer-West near Makurdi.
With the completion of phase one of the project, which is the resumption of commercial flights into Makurdi, the next critical phase of the project is commencement of processes that will lead to the development of the new Makurdi Airport.
We are indeed proud to lead this laudable developmental project, which is poised to offer new opportunities and economic benefits to the people of Benue State, the North-Central region, and Nigeria at large.
Our sincere appreciation goes to the visioner, the Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency Dr. Samuel Ortom for his support and commitment to the project, and the Hon. Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, for his tenacity, support, and assurances through the process.