It is barely a day to the commencement of flight operations at the Kaduna International Airport recently 'given a facelift to serve as temporary route for passengers that are supposed to use the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.

Preparations are ongoing to ensure smooth operations and passengers' safety.

A day after authorities said all is set for the expected influx of air travellers, the Ethiopian Airlines has declared its readiness to fly in and out of the Kaduna International Airport, making it the first airline to schedule flights to the new route.

This decision is coming on a day that the Airport, in Nigeria’s capital city, will be shut down for runway repairs. Activities in the Abuja airport will end in the midnight of March 7.

The Traffic and Sales Manager of Ethiopian Airlines told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday that the airline would start its first flight to Kaduna on Boeing 787 Dream Liner.

She said the flight, which would arrive from Addis Ababa on Wednesday, was expected to land at 12 noon and to take off at 1:10 p.m. to Addis Ababa with its international passengers.

Satisfied With Infrastructure

The airline official says the Boeing 787 is a new aircraft with 286 passenger capacity.

She said that the airline had inspected the airport and was satisfied with the infrastructure, assuring the passengers of excellent service.

According to her, Ethiopian airlines have been flying to Nigeria since independence and had never suspended or reduced its flights since then.

She said the airline had increased its flight operations for both passenger and cargo services in Nigeria.

“In this decision of closing Abuja airport, Ethiopian Airlines stands by Nigerian government so we will fly to Kaduna with daily frequency with dream liner.

“We are so far the only international airline that has understood with Nigerian government and agreed to fly Kaduna route during the six weeks closure of Abuja airport.

“Ethiopian Airline will start flight at Kaduna tomorrow with Boeing 787 Dream Liner being the first international flight into and from the airport during this operation,’’ she said.The Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had on Monday disclosed that Ethiopian airline was the only international airline that had so far agreed to fly Kaduna.

He added that the government is still talking with other airlines including Lufthansa to reconsider their earlier positions and fly the route.