By Levinus Nwabughiogu & Favour Nnabugwu
ABUJA—Respite has come the way of air travellers to Abuja as the Presidency, yesterday, approved the landing of helicopters in Abuja.
The approval came barely 24 hours after the Office of National Security Adviser, ONSA, imposed a restriction on helicopters flying across the city for security reasons.
This is even as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, said no fewer than 16,000 passengers have so far travelled through Kaduna International Airport within the first five days of its replacing Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Similarly, banks have commenced installations of Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, as airline operators have been issued POS Fresh, a week after the closure of the airport in Abuja.
Landing of helicopters in Abuja
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who disclosed these in an interview with State House correspondents at the end of yesterday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, also said talks were still ongoing at press time about the spot the helicopters would land, in view of the fact that there were ‘no-fly’ zones in the metropolis.
FG continues talks with foreign airlines
On foreign airlines refusing to land in Abuja, the minister said: “We are still talking to other airlines to see reason and begin to come because they see that it’s possible, doable, safe and I think within the next couple of days, we shall conclude and if it is possible we shall announce to Nigerians that there will be flights from Kaduna to London and back.”
16,000 passengers fly through Kaduna airport
Meanwhile, FAAN has said no fewer than 16,000 passengers were transported through the Kaduna International Airport within the first five days of its replacing the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, NAIA.
Ibrahim Bwala, Head, Corporate Affairs of FAAN at the Kaduna International Airport, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria, yesterday, in Kaduna.
Bwala said the airport successfully recorded 352 aircraft that landed and departed from domestic and international terminals within the period.
Banks begin installations of ATMs
Also, banks have commenced installations of ATMs, as airline operators have been issued PoS Fresh, a week after the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Investigations by Vanguard revealed that United Bank for Africa, UBA, has installed its ATM at the airport, even as airline operators at the airport have been issued functional Point of Sale (PoS) terminals for passengers with credit cards.
Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs Henrientta Yakubu, said, yesterday, that Zenith, Guaranty Trust Bank, FirstBank and others were due to begin operations and open ATM facilities this week.