Abuja flights to be diverted for rehabilitation of runway

THE federal Government has designated Kaduna Airport as alternative route to Abuja bound flights for the commencement of rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport runway in Abuja.

However, the Federal Government has deployed about N1 billion to urgently rehabilitate the runway.

Dropping this hint at the weekend was the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who said he had already set up a committee to oversee the restoration work.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had earlier said the runway was in a bad state due to over-utilization which it said called for the need to do a total overhaul while efforts are ongoing to build another runway as alternative to the over flogged existing one.

The committee which is expected to schedule the maintenance dates,is expected to also decide whether the runway would be closed daily or some hours of the day so that work could start at the facility.

“A ministry source said, government is making urgent effort to start the rehabilitation of the runway at the Abuja airport and government has provided funds for the work which could start anytime from now. The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had set up a committee about six weeks ago to oversee the rehabilitation, determine the dates and decide whether the airport would be closed for the period of restoration or choose to close it, for example, from 1:00 am to 6:00 am every day so that the airport could be operated part of the day.”

After the committee’s final presentation, the minister is expected to discuss with the National Security Adviser (NSA) to agree on the date work would start on the runway.

The Abuja airport would be certified by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in 2017, as the process for certification would end by March next year, as it has been chosen as the pilot for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) ‘No Country Left Behind campaign’.

Confirming the development, the acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs at FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu explained that all efforts were ongoing to ensure that runway is restored to international standards.