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Enugu Airport re-opening: Anxiety mounts as operators refuse to sell tickets

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Anxiety mounts among Enugu-bound passengers travelling to the Coal City for the Christmas and new year celebrations, as airlines operating flights to the city have refused to sell tickets for fear that plans to re-open the airport for daylight operations on Thursday may not come to fruition.

The airport was shut down over a year ago for rehabilitation, in line with its recent upgrade to an international status by the Federal Government.

With the completion of its runway, just extended to 3 kilometres, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, announced last week that the airport would be opened only for day operations since the airfield lighting has yet to be installed.

Harold Demuren, DG, NCAA

Consequently, excited passengers, who have plans to travel to Enugu for the end of year festivities, trooped to the counters of airlines to get their bookings done ahead of their trips to avoid rush, but were turned back by airline officials who said they were not sure that government would keep to its promise.

Those who tried to do their booking online also met brickwall, as they could not sail through. Although Thursday is just 48 hours away, airlines have refused to either take bookings or sell tickets across the counter to intending passengers.

A distressed intending passenger lamented that Nigerians no longer see government an entity whose word is its bond because of broken promises in the past.

“My joy knew no bound when news came that Enugu airport will be re-opened on Thursday, December 16, but my excitement has been dampened by the refusal of the airlines to sell tickets.  The airlines say they don’t trust government and you really cannot blame them because of broken promises in the past,” he said.

Some other passengers, who bared their minds, said they would have loved to avoid flying to Owerri, only to travel for another three hours to Enugu by road.

Owerri airport was named as alternate airport to Enugu when the Federal Government closed the latter for rehabilitation last year.

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