Reasons why we are shutting down Abuja Airport: The reason we chose to close down Abuja airport for 2months to use Kaduna Airport as alternative

Federal Government of Nigeria On January 6, 2017 as at 12:50 The Federal Government of Nigeria just yesterday January 6/2017 came up with their own style of excuse why they are not using the three closest airport close to Abuja saying that the three airports very close as a matter of fact it’s just a stone throw from Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, do not meet the criteria and standard set for alternative airports to Abuja. This however, didn’t ground well to the understanding of the stakeholders in aviation industry, who expressed fowl play on the alternative airport and the total closure of the Abuja Airport from March 8 to April 19, 2017 saying it’s on heard of.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during a stakeholders forum in Abuja, yesterday January 6/2017, said three other airports close to Abuja the Federal Capital of Nigeria which are Minna Airport in Niger State, Jos Airport and Ilorin Airport in Kwara state did not pass the criteria set by the Federal Government as alternative airports. The minister, while explaining the criteria used in making Kaduna Airport the choice airport just to convince the stakeholders, said:

“Niger and Kwara states are probably thinking they are better alternatives, they are very good alternatives for sure but unfortunately, there are quite a number of criteria we looked at which the other airports did not meet before we chose Kaduna. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. “The three are good airports close to Abuja but they simply did not meet with the criteria we used. Minna, Ilorin and even Jos airport as well.” 

The Minister while stating what necessitated the rehabilitation of Abuja airport runway, He recalled that the Abuja airport runway was constructed in 1982, adding that it has been over used and that the designed life span has been worn out by 14 years, leading to distressed and failed portions of the runaway. Giving stories of past experiences of airlines on the Abuja runway, saying:

“On December 4, 2013, a Saudi Arabian cargo plane damaged its landing gear in a major incident at the Abuja airport runway, which led to the closure of the airport for several hours, from the night of December 4 to the evening of the following day. “In August 2016, there was also another major incident involving South Africa Airways flight that got damaged when it landed on the same Abuja airport runway. “Just last year, Emirates aircraft was also damaged when it landed on the same runway and it was one of the reasons the airline gave for stopping operations to Abuja airport, while other international airlines were considering pulling out of Abuja airport like the Kenya Airways because of the dangerous runway and multiple incidences of landing gear damages that had been reported by operators of private jets caused by the poor condition of the Abuja runway. “This administration with safety and security as its priority, has decided to face the problem head on. The cooperation of all stakeholders is, therefore, required to enable us go through this transition period with minimal discomfort.”

On the path of Stakeholders the closure of the international airport to that of Kaduna is not ideal, the stake holders Expressing their grievances about the decision of the Federal Government, stakeholders like the (AON )Aviation Operators of Nigeria, (NANTA )Nigerian Association of Travel Agencies, International Airline Operators, IAO; embassies in Abuja, among others did not see any concrete reason behind the choice of Kaduna to other close airport to the Federal capital and the total closure of the Abuja airport Chairman of AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, said operators were in total support of the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport runway but do not understand why an international airport will be closed down completely because of a runway that could be divided into two sections while one section will be on repairs. Meggison said
”the 3900 meter runway could be divided into sections while a section is undergoing repairs, the other is left open till the repairs of the closed section is completed”.

He is of the opinion that the runway should be divided that even with the division of the runway that half part of the runway can accommodate a Boeing 737 adding that all international flight can could go to Lagos or Kano for the period of repairs. wondering if Kaduna airport has the capacity to accommodate the traffic of passengers and if Kaduna has what it takes to house aircrafts. However Executive Secretary, Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency, Mallam Gambo Hamza Responding to Nogie Meggison said Kaduna was ready to take the huge traffic while the state had made provision for security with 20 policemen on standby at every kilometre.

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