Asaba International Airport (IATA: ABB, ICAO: DNAS): is the primary international airport serving Asaba and the whole of Delta State, Nigeria, and other nearby cities. It is located approximately 7.9 kilometers (4.9 mi) east of the city centre of Asaba.
The airport was conceptualized by the Delta State Government as part of the strategic economic plan to open the sub region to the global business community. The airport was opened to passengers on 13 July 2011.
Asaba airport is gradually emerging as a sub regional hub that connects the key commercial cities of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano and Onitsha. It also serves other cities within the South-East and South-South region thus facilitating trade and easy connections in the Oil & Gas sector. The Asaba International Airport’s runway is also used by private companies for private flights, charter flights, as well as state visits. The airport is currently being prepared to handle international flight services in the near future.
It is regulated by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and upgraded to Category 6 status in April 2010, Asaba Airport has reopened for commercial and charter airlines. On 23 February 2021, the Delta State Government ceded the management of the airport to Asaba Airport Company by signing a 30 years concession agreement.
Project conception and initial construction
Asaba International Airport was first conceptualized in 2007 by the administration of Chief James Onanefe Ibori (1999-2007). The overarching objective was to build a standard passenger and cargo airport infrastructure in Asaba, Delta State, capable of handling codes C, D and E aircraft, to enhance domestic air travel by creating a modern, convenient and attractive transportation option to connect the state to both the national and international community and to serve as an additional source of revenue for the State. Asaba location was selected for the airport because of the strategic position of Asaba as the gateway to the South-East and Niger-Delta region. However, the Ibori administration could not embark on the project.
The Okowa Administration, in fulfilment of its responsibility to reposition the airport facility, embarked on the rehabilitation of key infrastructures within the airport to resolve the regulator-identified challenges which led to the downgrade. The rehabilitation work, which included the construction of a new runway, setting up an instrument landing system and field lighting to have the airport return to 24-hour operations, was successfully completed and the airport was upgraded to Category 6 by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Upon completion of the facility upgrade, the Okowa administration commissioned a feasibility study, revealing that it would be about 85% more expensive for the government to operate upgraded airport to its full potential and that a private sector partnership was needed to fund the airport operation.
Having achieved some quick wins on the Airport repositioning, the Delta State Government decided to expand and modernize the airport facilities under a Private-Public Partnership arrangement, which would aid private sector participation, ensure optimal operations of the Airport, foster economic growth, improve trade and commerce, entrepreneurship, job creation and skills acquisition.
Asaba Airport Concession
Following the upgrade of the airport facility and the government’s intent to invite private sector participation, the Delta State Government issued a Request for Proposal to select a Transaction Adviser and in March 2016, Delta State Executive Council approved the appointment of HALCROW Infrastructure Consortium as the Transaction Adviser to the Government to midwife the concessioning of Asaba International Airport.
On the 23rd of February 2021, Asaba Airport Company signed a 30 years concession agreement with the Delta State Government after a rigorous and transparent selection process.
Key highlights of the concession include:
• The Concessionaire shall prepare a Master Plan for the Airport setting out the proposed development for the entire Airport, planned over a 20-year time horizon.
• The Concessionaire shall commence a Mandatory Capital Project Development of the airport which includes: Passenger Terminal Upgrade and Extension, Cargo Terminal, Aviation Fuel Terminal Upgrade, and Business Park.
Upon the signing of the concession agreement, a Project Delivery Oversight Committee (PDOC) consisting of five members including the Concessionaire Representative, two employees of the Concessionaire and two persons appointed by the Delta State Government was established within 30 days of execution of the Agreement. The PDOC is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the concession agreement are duly satisfied and it shall be the single point of contact for the Concessionaire for all matters concerning the agreement. The PDOC was also responsible for overseeing the six months transition period. The transition period ensured a seamless transfer of the operations and management of the airport to Asaba Airport Company. The handover of the management of Asaba International Airport to Asaba Airport Company was performed in a symbolic ceremony on 22 August 2021.
The Delta State Government is the vested owner of Asaba International Airport and by virtue of the executed concession agreement has conceded the development, operation and management of the airport to Asaba Airport Company Limited for a period of 30 years. The management of the airport covers all airside infrastructure, key airport facilities and all landside infrastructure.
Asaba operates as a single-runway airport (11/29) with a length of 3400 meters and a width of 45 meters. Runway 11 is equipped with a Category 1 runway lighting system consisting of approach lights, runway edge lights, runway centerline lights, runway threshold lights and taxiway lights. Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) are installed on both sides of runway 11.