Kaduna airport ready for operations, minister assures
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has assured that the Kaduna Airport would be fully ready for operations during the six-week closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Sirika stated this while briefing newsmen during an inspection tour of the airport on yesterday in Kaduna.Following the decision of the ministry to divert flights to the airport, the Kaduna State government has pledged its commitment to ensure smooth flight operations from the airport.
Governor Nasir el-Rufai made the pledge yesterday in Kaduna when Sirika visited him during his assessment the readiness of the management of the airport to receive the expected large number of flights.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the minister said the existing 500-passenger capacity Hajj Terminal would be used, with additional contingency plan in the event that the main terminal building under construction was not completed.
But he assured that the terminal building would meet the March 8 deadline, saying the current arrangement was a “force majur” in case the terminal building could not be completed before the six weeks period.
Sirika said the runway was in perfect shape with the age light marking and every part was ready for operation, adding that the control tower had been built, with the radio installed and would be ready in two or three weeks.
He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved funds for the rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna expressway.On security, he said that the federal government, in collaboration with Kaduna State government, would provide additional security around the airport, Kaduna metropolis and enroute Abuja, with ambulances and helicopter patrol by the security forces along the road from Kaduna to Abuja.
The minister debunked reports that airlines rejected Kaduna airport as alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, stating that they raised some concerns that would be addressed before the due date, assuring that the six weeks operation would be a seamless one.
El-Rufai, represented by Speaker of the State Assembly, Alhaji Aminu Shagali, commended the federal government for the choice of Kaduna Airport, noting that his government had put process in motion to ensure the success of the plan.
The governor also pledged that his government would provide adequate security and complete the repairs of Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway to ease traffic movement, saying stakeholders in the hospitality business were ready to tap from the opportunity the development would bring to the state.
Muhammed Joji, Chairman of Abuja-Kaduna Airport Transit Committee, said the operation would be successful.Joji, who is also the Managing Director, Skypower Express Airways, said the committee had the responsibility of ensuring that all security issues were identified and addressed.
He stated that security issues in surrounding communities had been handled, with immediate reconstruction of the vandalised perimeter fencing.The committee, he said, had held meeting with the local landlords on the issue of security to help the security agencies.The minister recently announced the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for comprehensive repair of the runway.