Abuja airport closure: Foreign airlines list demands – Punch

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

International airlines operating in Nigeria have outlined their demands before they can effectively fly to the Kaduna International Airport once the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is closed for a six week repair on its runway, beginning from March 8.

The airlines made their demands known to the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, during a meeting with officials of the Aviation ministry at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Abuja on Tuesday.

Sirika, who listed the demands of the airlines after the meeting, stated that the carriers were concerned about the perimeter fence at the Kaduna airport, the size of its apron, whether it would accommodate a considerable number of aircraft, and if airline officials were going to be involved in the screening of passengers.

Other concerns raised by the carriers, according to the minister, are issues bordering on catering services at the Kaduna airport; how to tackle vehicular breakdown at the facility; inadequate number of boarding gates; and how to track the luggage of passengers should there be issues of missing belongings.

The minister stated that the airlines also queried the ministry on how the various agencies of government that would function during the six-week closure of the Abuja airport would be managed.

“We are tackling the issues and will continue to meet with stakeholders to further handle all other concerns as we work towards using the Kaduna airport during the six-week period,” Sirika said.

Confirming what the minister said, the Station Manager for Lufthansa German Airlines in Abuja, Zlatko Zlatic, said the airlines were pleased with the manner in which the government was handling the process.

He, however, stated that the foreign carriers would soon go and inspect the Kaduna airport to confirm its readiness for operations beginning from March 8, 2017.