Abuja Airport Closure: Foreign Airlines Reject Kaduna Airport As Alternative

Delegates of international airlines operators have rejected the Kaduna International Airport as alternative destination for Abuja flights as the federal government commences repairs on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

In December 2016, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had said the Abuja airport would be closed for six weeks between February and March 2017 to enable repair on the damaged runway.Senator Sirika also announced the choice of Kaduna international airport as the alternative.

However, at a stakeholders meeting on Thursday, a representative of the international airlines operators, Mr. Osho Joseph said Kaduna international airport is not an option for them.

He said: “We believe Kaduna may be an alternative for local operators but definitely not for international airline operators. But we will get back on this.”

In his response, Senator Sirika said it is an economic decision on the part of all stakeholders in the sector to fly to Kaduna during the six weeks required for repairs.

“On whether some of the international airline won’t fly to Kaduna, that’s an economic decision.  But we will ensure they are comfortable if they chose to fly to Kaduna. Kaduna has the capacity to take jumbo jets and B777s.”

The minister added: “what I have is not final. We are still open to new knowledge on this matter. At the end of our preparation, stakeholders will be invited to inspect Kaduna to ask further questions.”

The minister assured that the federal government and the Kaduna State Government will provide “security within the airport, Kaduna Metropolitan City, enroute to railway station & along Kaduna- Abuja road.”

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