Hospitality fears over closure of Abuja Airport

The Abuja chapter of the Hotel Car Hire Association of Nigeria has said that the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport will impact negatively on the hospitality industry.

The Secretary of the chapter, Mr Tunde Kolade, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria recently in Abuja.

The six-week closure is to enable repair of the airport’s runway.

Kolade said: “With the closure of the airport, they are going to divert flights to Kaduna Airport; it is going to affect us drastically.

“Going to pick passengers from Kaduna to Abuja won’t be easy for both passengers and our members.

“Kaduna is far; if they can carry out the repair in phases, it will be better; if it is possible, let them close one way and use the other way.’’

He, however, said that it was necessary for the government to repair the runway to ensure users’ safety.

The planned extensive repair of the runway was recently approved by Federal Executive Council.

The Ministry of Aviation announced the proposal on Dec.10.

According to the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, the airport will be closed by midnight on March 8 and reopened for operations on or before April 19.

Sirika said that the repair would result in diversion of Abuja-bound flights to the Kaduna Airport until the completion of the work.

The runway designed in 1982 was expected to last for 20 years.

The lifespan has been exceeded by 14 years without adequate maintenance.