Nigeria says Abuja bound passengers aboard diverted flights to Kaduna will enjoy free train and bus ride from Kaduna to Abuja.
Nigeria plans to divert Abuja bound passengers to Kaduna over the next six weeks starting March 8th.
The government under Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan attempted to carry out repairs on the airport runway in 2014, but the then opposition parties and other activists opposed the move.
At a joint press conference, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Representative of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing; as well as the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris said adequate measures have been put in place to ensure smooth operation.
There will also be adequate security, with the police deploying the air wing, the counter-terrorism and the special units to ensure the safety of passengers travelling between Kaduna and Abuja, according to the Inspector-General of Police.
It was also announced that the rehabilitation of the Abuja-Kaduna road has been completed and that the road is now very motorable
According to Minister of Information and Culture, “When an airport is built there is a maintenance schedule depending on the number of landings that have been made. After a particular number of landing there is what we call surface cleaning, which is done. After additional landings, we now do resurfacing, after that it is closed completely and we do reconstruction.
“In the case of the Abuja Airport, for 34 years neither surface cleaning has been done nor resurfacing and it has deteriorated, so what we are doing is total reconstruction and there is no other alternative than to close the runway,” he said.
Also speaking, Minister of State for Aviation said, both the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and the National Society of Engineers (NSE) have agreed with the government that the integrity of the Abuja Airport runway has been degraded and that the only way to ensure safety on the runway is total reconstruction.
Mr. Sirika said the government is adopting the Concession Model to ensure that all the airports in the country are rehabilitated to meet global best practices and safety.
“We are concessioning the entire airports in Nigeria that belong to government. We will begin by concessioning four. Concession means we will give it to a private entrepreneur who has the wherewithal, the know-how, the technology, the capacity, the ability, the finance to put up huge fantastic edifices as airports with everything including hotels, just the way you see them abroad,” he said.