Major Airlines Reject Kaduna Airport As Alternative Route
BEVERLY HILLS, February 08, (THEWILL) – International airlines are refusing to use the Kaduna airport as an alternative when the Abuja airport shuts down for repairs.
THEWILL recalls that government is planning to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja for runway repairs on March 8 with a plan to divert domestic and international flights to Kaduna, 170 kilometres (105 miles) away.
According to the Ministry of Aviation, the planned six weeks resurfacing work of the runway is needed because the runway, which was built in 1982 with a 20-year lifespan, was dilapidated and unsafe.
However, Lufthansa, Air France and South African Airways have all said they will not re-route their flights to Abuja from Frankfurt, Paris and Johannesburg respectively, to Kaduna or elsewhere in Nigeria.
Although British Airways and Turkish Airlines have not made a decision but they are likely to follow suit, as both have suspended ticket sales for Abuja flights during the closure.
The airlines believe that Kaduna airport, in its current state, is poorly equipped and operates without automated services and is likely to struggle with additional traffic.
Also, motorists on the Abuja to Kaduna road have been the target of kidnappers while Kaduna state has seen a spate of violent ethnic and sectarian clashes in recent months.
Meanwhile, Kaduna airport Manager, Amina Ozi Salami, has insisted that the airport's runway was 100 percent better than in Abuja.
She revealed that work on the terminal building, which was abandoned in May 2015, had restarted and would be completed while more space was being prepared for storing aviation fuel adding that the state government was working to improve street lighting on the airport road from the city.
“Round-the-clock security has been promised, as well as bus shuttle services to the railway station, from where trains run to the capital twice a day,” she said
“Staff at Abuja airport will be deployed to Kaduna, so all hands are on deck to deliver on services.”