Abuja Airport to be closed March 8 for repairs

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said  the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja will be closed for repairs on March 8, 2017. In an advertorial, yesterday, Sirika also said government and stakeholders will meet on Thursday, to discuss issues arising from proposed closure.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, S. Zakari signed the advertorial. “The six-week closure of the airport, which will be effective from March 8, 2017, is to enable government carry out comprehensive renovation works on the airport’s runway, in order to meet international civil aviation standards,” he said.

Sirika, who had earlier announced the closure of the airport for repairs of its runway  also said  Thursday had  been slated for engaging stakeholders in the industry on  issues arising from the proposed closure.

He explained that the meeting  will be a follow-up to the decision to temporarily shut down operations at the airport for six weeks in February and March.

The minister said the stakeholders’ forum will afford him  the opportunity to officially inform the sector’s players of the decision.

“It is also to brief them on efforts being made to ensure that the use of the Kaduna international airport as an alternative during the six-week closure of the Abuja Airport is seamless and hitch-free,”for The minister spoke through a  statement signed by Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Transportation, James Odaudu.

Sirika explained that the parley was informed by safety and security concerns and added that government was aware of the likely high level of discomfort and inconvenience the proposed closure would cause air transport passengers, airline operators and other service providers.

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Meanwhile, Niger State Government has urged has advised the Federal Government to consider Minna International Airport as alternative.

Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, in a statement, yesterday, said Minna airport is closest to Abuja, rather than Kaduna.

Vatsa appealed to government to hasten work on the dualisation of Suleja–Minna road to serve as gateway to the Minna airport to be used as alternative.

He said Niger is ready to assist Federal Government to make Minna airport as alternative for the period Abuja airport will be closed.

He said that the  airport has requisite facilities and manpower to serve as a trusted alternative to the Abuja airport and added that “Niger is also known as one of most peaceful in the country.” He added that conversion of Minna airport for the purpose would also reduce the suffering of travellers.

“In time like this, Minna Airport should be used and in the most economic way, it should also be used as a cargo airport. “Therefore, with the planned closure of Abuja Airport for rehabilitation, it is wise economically to use Minna to serve Abuja.’’

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