WED, MARCH 8 2017-Passengers and crew of the Ethiopian Airline were greeted today at the Kaduna International airport by the Minister of State Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika, Kaduna State Government and Federal Airport Authorities of Nigeria (FAAN) officials.
The airline’s aircraft, Dream liner Boeing 787 becomes the first official international flight into Kaduna ahead of the planned shutdown of the Abuja International airport scheduled for 12: 00 midnight today. 52 passengers were on board
The shutdown of the Abuja international airport is expected to last for six weeks and will cost $18 million. But aviation expert say the damage caused by years of neglect could force extension of repair works at the airport. The major work will be on the airport’s sole runway which is strangely dotted with potholes and ruptured in many places. The runway was designed for 20 years, but has been in use for 34 years.
Julius Berger, the construction giant will handle the repair of the airport which handled an estimated 5,000 domestic flights in December 2016.
The ripple effect of the closure is expected to put strain on business travelers who frequented for government business, according to aviation watchers. The hospitality industry will also take a hit as many frequent travelers are now rescheduling visit to Abuja or transferring meeting points to Kaduna.
Already, some international airlines, including Turkish airlines, Lufthansa and British airways declined landing in Kaduna as alternative citing security concerns among others.