The temporary closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is getting closer and there is no going back on the decision the government said was made to improve the standard of the airport. 

It was built in 1992 to cater for 100,000 people per annum, with a 20-year life span, but its runway has been over-stretched.

The airport now caters for over 4 million persons per annum, far exceeding the initial plan.

Its closure will take effect the midnight of March 7, with flights re-routed to Kaduna International airport some 188 kilometres away from Nigeria's capital city.

Fourteen years above its scheduled life-span maintenance, the government has seen the need to shut the airport down to enable the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to carry out a major rehabilitation of the runway at the airport.

The Necessary Rehabilitation

It is a necessary rehabilitation that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Siriki, stressed was necessary to ensure the runway do not lead to the Port Harcourt Airport experience of punctured airplane tyre due to bad runway.  

The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, said in a statement on Thursday in Lagos that the closure would last for six weeks, after which the airport would be re-opened.

Dunoma said that due to the temporary closure, Kaduna International Airport would serve as the alternate from March 8, till the completion of the rehabilitation.

“Normal operations will re-commence at the Abuja Airport on April 19,” Dunoma told the News Agency of Nigeria. 

The FAAN chief said the authority had put in place necessary facilities that would ensure the safety and security of all airport users and seamless facilitation at the Kaduna International Airport.

He appealed to airline operators, passengers, airport users and other stakeholders to bear with the FAAN, saying that it would continue to upgrade facilities at the nation’s airports.

Dunoma said that this was in compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annexes, which bothers on security and safety at the airports.

Security, before now, has been an issue in some northern Nigerian states and airline operators and passengers wanted an assurance from the government on their safety, travelling to Abuja through Kaduna-Abuja route.

Mr Siriki said the Kaduna State government would be providing additional security around the airport, Kaduna metropolis and en route Abuja.