ABUJA AIRPORT TO BE CLOSED FOR SIX MONTHS (not 6 weeks)
Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 12 January 2017 | 2,199 times
Aviation Minister of State Hadi Sirika.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sirika Hadi, on Thursday morning disclosed that the proposed work on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja is to last for six months and not six weeks as widely reported in the media.
Sirika, while briefing the Senate on the rational behind the proposed closure, insisted that to continually operate at the airport would be unsafe and unreasonable.
“The Abuja runway was constructed in 1982 and has only a lifespan of 14 years, meaning it has extended its usage,” he said.
Highlighting the dangers inherent in the continued use of the airport, Sirika said that “on the 8th of January this year, a plane landed in Abuja which ruined the tyre and now the plane can no longer fly.”
He noted that the proposed closure is not strange as ““Port Harcourt Airport was shut down for two and a half years because the maintenance was not done in time.”
“This administration has focused on safety and will not be able to defend it if they have to cut the runway by half. All options to use portion of the airport will not work as most planes are too big,” the Minister said, dismissing suggestions that the proposed repairs be carried out at night.
He assured that the Federal Government will provide military, police, helicopter patrols, as well as upgrade clinics along the Abuja/Kaduna airport route.
He added that train services and executive bus services along with helicopter shuttles will also be provided from and to Kaduna Airport, proposed to serve as an alternative during the period of the closure.
Sirika noted that every flight plan always have alternate landing route and it has always been Kaduna for Abuja. He assured that Kaduna Airport is safe.