Foreign airlines divert traffic to PH, Abuja to decongest Lagos
Foreign carriers have expressed readiness to divert some flight operations to new terminals at Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Omegwa, Rivers State, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, as part of moves to decongest Lagos operations.
The move, The Guardian learnt, is also part of efforts by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to put the new terminals to profitable use. FAAN disclosed that Turkish Airlines would soon commence scheduled flight operations from PHIA, while Emirates Airlines would run daily flights from NAIA. In addition, Air Peace would from April, do direct flight to Dubai from PHIA.
General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said the move was necessary to redistribute traffic from Lagos to other airports in the country. Yakubu said the carriers could use state-of-the-art facilities in other aerodromes across Nigeria, adding that FAAN is determined to improve the experience of air travellers nationwide.
She hinted that Cronos Air, and Lufthansa already operate from the Port Harcourt Airport, while Turkish Air flights will operate four times weekly, starting from June 25, 2019.
Besides, Yakubu explained that Air Cote d’Ivoire would commence direct flight from Abuja to its base in Abidjan soon.“We want to appeal to members of the public that they don’t have to come from Port Harcourt or any part of the Eastern state to fly out of the country.
“They can easily go to Port Harcourt to fly. Also, as you know, Abuja Airport’s new terminal too has opened, and Emirates would be starting from the terminal from June. We are expecting all the international airlines to start operating also from Abuja Airport.
“We want to encourage our passengers that they don’t all have to come to Lagos, even though we know Lagos is the commercial nerve centre of the country and the airport is the hub, but passengers can travel from Abuja and Port Harcourt airports to connect to their destinations so that we can decongest Lagos airport.”
Recall that the recently opened Abuja terminal has annual capacity of 15 million passengers, while Port Harcourt has capacity of five million passengers. Yakubu further informed that Kano Airport, with another five million annual capacity, would come on stream in the next two months.
“Lagos Airport did not take-off early because of the issue of citing of the new terminal. Where we have it now is not the original site; it has come up with a lot of issues – connectivity to the airside, the runway and others. But we are assuring our passengers that once Kano is inaugurated, the next airport would be Lagos,” she said.
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