According to Ricardo de Abreu, who was speaking last Friday at the ceremony that marked the completion of the first experimental flight at NAIL, called "Dr. António Agostinho Neto", located 42 kilometers south of Luanda, the infrastructure "is a work as necessary as it is emblematic".
"From now on, it will mark the future of civil aviation in Angola and our common history. Therefore, we say that our future for Angola has already begun", he said.
A Boeing 777–300CR type aircraft from the TAAG airline landed at 1 pm local time on Friday at the NAIL, from Luanda's 4 de Fevereiro International Airport, signaling the experimental flight within the scope of the NAIL certification, located in the municipality of Icolo and Bengo.
The ceremony, symbolized with a baptism of water agreement over the aircraft, also featured a low flight by the National Air Force squadron, with SU-30 type jets and another with smoke in the colors of the national flag.
Several government figures, including ministers of state, ministers, secretaries of state and other government officials, witnessed the act, which was also attended by Maria Eugénia Neto, widow of the first Angolan president, whose name was attributed to the NAIL.
Ricardo de Abreu, in his speech, praised the figure of António Agostinho Neto, whose centenary will be celebrated next September, referring that this is "the father of the nation, who managed to keep it one and indivisible, making it the firm trench of the revolution in Africa".
"He who, due to his human and political dimension, left us a legacy that even today allows us all to better understand the dimension of freedom, the power of ingenuity and the audacity of Angolans", he said.
The Transport Minister recalled his visit to the NAIL in October 2017, noting that during the visit he foresaw "a fatal outcome of the project", whose works began in 2007, because, he explained, despite appearing to be in progress, he was suffering of "serious difficulties".
"Due to the difficult issues it went through, namely its design, the implementation method, the business model, the secrecy of its execution", he recalled.
After "clear guidelines" for the completion of the project, by the President, João Lourenço, in 2018, he continued, the authorities did not stop "working towards the pursuit of these objectives", which is why, he maintained, it can now be said that " the civil aviation sector in the country is at a more advanced stage".
"[Angola] now has a true Civil Aviation Authority, we have a legal framework in perfect alignment with the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization, we have created new companies, specialized in their attributions", he exemplified.
"We arrived here, after all the reform process that we have been implementing in the transport sector, we must necessarily conclude that if the NAIL Dr. António Agostinho Neto did not exist, it would have to come into existence", he stressed.
"The NAIL or our future represents the icing on the cake, because we believe that the set of reforms already implemented will enhance and dynamize the national civil aviation sector in all its dimensions, as well as benefit all sectors of the national economy", stressed the minister.
He considered that several challenges were faced, "from activating the financing for the conclusion of the project to the recovery of assets within this perimeter" and the capture of financial resources that allow today to ensure the financing of the inspection of the infrastructure.
The "most important" of all the challenges, he continued, was the change in the governance and management model of the project, with the creation, on 5 October 2018, of the Operationalization Office of the New International Airport, "a body that assumes the management of the project, using best governance practices".
The NAIL, according to the authorities, will have a capacity to receive 15 million passengers/year, including international and domestic passengers, and is projected to handle 50,000 tonnes/year.
The Transport minister also added that the project "is already creating several direct benefits for the Angolan economy, from the point of view of employment and the technical specialization of human capital".
"But also in the local content component, promoting our construction materials industry and other specialties, so that our identity participation in the project is visible and relevant", concluded Ricardo de Abreu.
Passenger terminal area and auxiliary buildings, movement aerial and control tower, airport city are part of the various valences that the NAIL must cover.