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International airlines boycott Kaduna Airport as Abuja Airport closes

Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport officially closed yesterday for a six-week repair. The closure will last six weeks to allow for a comprehensive maintenance of the airport runway, according to the Nigerian government.

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.

According to government’s plan, 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 police security provided by the government.

However, only Ethiopian Airlines has agreed to use the Kaduna Airport. Aviation experts and international airlines have criticised the alternative airport because of the pot-holed Kaduna-Abuja road where kidnappings have taken place in the last few years. Also, killer Fulani herdsmen also operate in the area and they have been blamed for several massacres of villagers in the southern part of Kaduna State.

With the boycott of Kaduna Airport by international airlines, most Abuja-bound passengers would have to travel first to Lagos and go by road to Abuja or take a domestic flight to Kaduna.

Kola Tella

Information on the Abuja Airport during the closure at: www.abujaairportclosure.info

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