February 10, 2017

Foreign Airlines notify FG of unwillingness to operate from Kaduna Airport

Hadi Sirika,

Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of state, Aviation

By Lawani Mikairu

FOREIGN Airlines have started giving notification to the federal government of their intention not to operate from Kaduna airport after the closure of Nnamidi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for repair works on the runway. The airport will be closed for six weeks with effect from March 8.

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 because of security concern in Kaduna State. The government has been making frantic efforts to allay the fears of the airline.

Safety and security challenges

British Airways has just notified the federal government that it will not operate from the Kaduna Airport during the closure of the Abuja Airport. Other airlines like South African Airways, SAA, Lufthansa, KLM-Air France had earlier said they would not operate from Kaduna citing 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 is reported to have 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.