Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, will be temporarily closed for complete six weeks in February and March next year 2017 this is to complete the repairs on the run way. Says the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
Mr. Sirika made it known to the public on Monday that the temporary closure will give the contractors enough time to carry out total re-construction on the badly damaged airport runway.
According to the minister the runway would still be in function within the six months of rehabilitation but that the six weeks would allow the mid-section of the runway to be reconstructed.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstruction of the runway through the emergency procurement procedure for work to commence.
The minister said government could not afford to close down Nnamdi Azikiwe airport Abuja for a too long a time as Julius Berger had been working on the runway in the last three months.
“From start to finish of the runway, it will take six months. However, we will be using the runway almost throughout the period except for about six weeks when the runway will be closed.
“That is when we are going to do the mid-section of the runway.
“The government has accepted the design done by the contractor. The runway will last for than 10 years on completion early next year,” he said.
Mr. Sirika said all passengers flying in or out Abuja to any part of the world will be using Kaduna airport as alternative during the six weeks.
All arrangement had been made with Kaduna State, promising that federal government will provide buses to convey the passengers to Abuja while the Kaduna state government will be provide security for every passenger.
According to Aviation Minister Mr. Sirika, the closure for 6weeks will cost government substantial amount of money “but we think that palliative approach is wrong because three years down we will come back to do the same repairs.
“Therefore, we decided to go for the bigger option which is to do structural repairs if the runway which will take about six months to complete,” So he said.
On the Bilateral Air ties with other countries, the government had signed BASA with over 20 countries that Nigerians frequently visit and do business with.
The Memorandum of Understanding, he said, would give Nigeria the viable opportunity to operate air services with 20 countries.
“With this, we have the freedom to fly and land safely in other air space and this will assist in opening our market.’’