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Abuja airport closure opens brisk business for Lagos-Kaduna flights


Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

• Police assure passengers of safety of lives, property
• FAAN inaugurates special unit to tackle corrupt officials

Domestic airlines are set for brisk business when all Abuja-bound flights are diverted to Kaduna airport from Wednesday. The domestic operators, besides deploying multiple flights on Lagos-Kaduna route, are also partnering some foreign carriers that have declined the Kaduna offer, to receive their international passengers in Lagos and convey them to Kaduna.

The smart business move will ensure Abuja and Kaduna air passengers are not stranded and minimise their discomfort while the closure lasted. The airlines will also maximise profit, with more revenue accruing to government coffers instead of losses on account of the temporary closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for runway repairs.

Aviation security consultant, Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd), said the refusal of some foreign airlines to divert to Kaduna would be a blessing and boom time for domestic operators that are ready to take maximum advantage.

The Guardian yesterday gathered that airlines like Med-View, Air Peace and Arik Air among others have increased number of daily frequencies between Lagos and Kaduna.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Med-View Airlines, Muneer Bankole, said at least five daily flights would operate from Lagos to Kaduna beginning from March 8, 2017.

Arik Air also announced special promotional fare that will enable passengers buy a-one-way ticket to any destination in Nigeria from N16, 000. This is in addition to three daily flights between Kaduna and Lagos and one daily flight between Kaduna and Accra, Ghana during the period of airport closure.

Other destinations to be serviced by the airline from Kaduna are Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Sokoto, Gombe, Yola and Enugu, which will have one daily flight each. The new schedule will be operated for six weeks when the Abuja Airport is closed to traffic.

In a related development, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Idris Ibrahim has said that security has been reinforced in Kaduna State for local and international passengers.

The IG, who addressed newsmen shortly after his arrival at Kaduna airport yesterday, in company of top internal security operatives involved in the operation, said that all means of transportation, including cabs, train coaches, would be adequately protected.

He also added that all commanders of security agencies involved in the operation would operate from central command unit located right inside the airport.

Ibrahim said: “We are covering all the highways from Kaduna to Abuja road, linking to the town. All the buses to be provided by government as chartered vehicles are providing security personnel on each of them.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has inaugurated its Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) to tackle corruption and sharp practices among officers nationwide.

The authority, saddled with the management of about 26 airports across the country, said the unit was to enhance probity and accountability in the workforce.

Nine inspectors of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have qualified and certified as International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) instructors.

The officers attained this qualification after the successful completion of the ICAO TRAINAIR PLUS Training Instructors Course (TIC), which held at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

The 11-man ACTU committee was charged to ensure the domestication of the key tenets of the ICPC, which are transparency, accountability and good ethical practices at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Managing Director of FAAN, who was represented by Director of Commercial and Business Development, Sadiku Abdulkadir Rafindadi, at the inauguration, enjoined the committee members to act as compliance and ethics officers.

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