Nairametricsǀ The proposed closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja has been postponed by the FG to Mrch 8, 2017 instead of the mid-February dates earlier proposed. However, as has been the recent trend by the FG, no reason was given for the postponement of the closure.
The FG had, after threats by airlines to boycott flights to Abuja, decided to repair the runway in the Abuja airport while directing that Abuja-bound flights should be diverted to Kaduna for the duration of the closure.
But a statement issued yesterday, which said the aviation minister would discuss the matter with stakeholders, said the “proposed closure” was set to start on March 8, ThisDay reports. The FG, through the aviation ministry spokesperson, James Odaudu, said that it had a meeting with aviation industry figures, on Thursday, to brief them on efforts being made to ensure that the use of Kaduna’s airport is “seamless and hitch-free”.
However, there are concerns with the selection of the Kaduna airport as an alternative destination for Abuja -bound flights. Primary among them is the ability of the airport to actually handle the volume of flights that the Abuja airport does. For example, the last month for which airport authorities have figures for is December 2015 (why remains a mystery). This report shows that the Kaduna airport handles just 12 flights. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport handled 812 flights. How will Kaduna cope?
Secondly, with the security concerns in Southern Kaduna, how many passengers, especially on foreign flights, will be willing to take the risk of treading through such insecure terrain. Thus, unless the FG decisively deals with these issues, Nigeria risks losing a lot of investment in that month.