Seyi Makinde, Oyo state governor, says there is a plan to position Ibadan airport as an alternative to the local airport in Lagos.
Taiwo Adisa, chief press secretary to the governor, said Makinde made the pledge while receiving Olaonipekun Makinde, the air officer commanding, logistics command, Ikeja.
The governor said his administration had already perfected plans to ensure that Ibadan-Port Harcourt air movement begins in the next two weeks.
He said: “We believe that the airport in Ibadan should serve as a true alternative airport to Lagos if it has the capacity to take the 747 aircraft. So, we have a project that we are incubating right now. We are trying to expand the runway so that bigger aircraft can land in Ibadan.
“We are also looking at Ibadan as actually becoming the hub for regional air transportation. We are trying, even within the shortest possible time, to see if we can have a connection between Ibadan and Port Harcourt.
“We are talking to Air Peace and they should be starting an operational flight from Ibadan to Abuja in the next two weeks. And Ibadan to Port Harcourt should commence once we have finalised the discussion that we are having with them.
“It means that with all these activities we are bringing to the state and the Ibadan Airport, we will need more cooperation and collaboration with the Nigerian air force.
“I discussed with the chief of air staff when he visited me here. We talked about the air force base here in Ibadan and our house of representatives member, Abass Agboworin, who is the vice-chairman of the house committee on air force, is making efforts to bring some of these projects into fruition.”
The governor said he has discussed with the Ogun state government to rehabilitate an existing road linking Ibadan, the state capital, with Ijebu Igbo, a town in Ogun state.
He added: “About three days ago, I spoke with the governor of Ogun state and we both agreed that we can fix the 11-km road that will take one from Akanran (in Oyo state) to Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun state.
“So, what that means is that from the airport, anyone coming from the Ijebu axis would not have to even think about going to Lagos to fly.”