Nigeria plans to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in the capital Abuja for six weeks from 8 March to repair its runway, the aviation ministry said on Tuesday, 3 January, pushing the move back later than previously scheduled.
No reason was given for the change of date.
The closure is to allow extensive runway repairs which will last for six months, the government said. The airport will continue operating during the repairs for all but the announced six week closure.
The decision to shut the airport and divert Abuja-bound flights to Kaduna, an airport used primarily for domestic flights about 160 km to the north, was taken after airlines threatened to stop flying to the capital as a result of the bad conditions of some of its facilities.
Passengers travelling to Abuja, the country’s second busiest after the commercial capital Lagos, will have to fly to Kaduna and travel in bus shuttles, guarded by security provided by the government, to the capital on a pot-holed road where kidnappings have taken place in the last few years.
Kaduna’s international airport handled 12 flights in December 2015, the last month for which Nigeria’s airports authority has figures, compared with 812 that used Abuja International.
The government has said German company Julius Berger will carry out repairs on Abuja’s damaged runway.
Sesan Adeola with agencies