Following the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for repair works on the runway for 6 weeks, with effect from March 6th, the foreign Airlines have started giving notifications to the Federal Government of their intention not to operate from Kaduna airport.
The foreign airlines had earlier told the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, during the stakeholders meeting the minister called in Abuja to address all issues relating to the proposed closure, that they will not operate from Kaduna Airport due to security issues in Kaduna State.
Despite the government frantic efforts to allay the fears of the airlines, British Airways has just notified the federal government that it will not operate from the Kaduna Airport during the closure of the Abuja Airport, likewise other airlines like South African Airways, SAA, Lufthansa, KLM-Air France had earlier said they would not operate from Kaduna due to safety and security challenges.
British Airways Country Manager, Mr. Kola Olayinka, had said the airline plans to assess its best options for its customers during the closure period of the runway.
Olayinka said, “I can confirm that BA will not be operating to Kaduna during the planned closure of the Abuja Airport. “Many factors were considered before this decision was reached, major ones are concerned about the safety and security of our passengers as well as difficulties around some key operational issues. We are currently evaluating all options for our customers planning to travel at that time and we will be reaching out directly to them for information about their trip”.
He further explained that catering services as well as “adequate technology were not in Kaduna including simple technologies like the Common User Terminal Equipment among others”.
South African Airways has reportedly written a letter, signed by the acting chief commercial officer, SAA, Mr. Aaron Munetsi, to the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika informing him that it would cease flight operations to Abuja on March 6, 2017, days before the closure of the airport.