The United Kingdom (UK) carrier British Airways has confirmed the airline would not be flying to Kaduna International airport during the period of repair of the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
The Abuja airport would be closed for six weeks from March 8, 2017 for repairs while the federal government designated Kaduna as the landing alternative for all Abuja-bound flights.
However most foreign carriers have indicated they would not be flying to Kaduna. South African Airways, Lufthansa and lately British Airways said they are suspending Abuja flights pending the reopening of the airport.
BA country manager, Mr. Kola Olayinka said its decision to suspend Abuja flights temporarily was in the interest of its customers.
According to him, many factors were considered before arriving at the decision.
He said, “I can confirm that BA will not be flying to Kaduna during the planned closure of the Abuja Airport. Many factors were considered before this decision was reached.
Major ones are concerned about the safety and security of our passengers as well as difficulties around some key operational issues. “We are currently evaluating all options for our customers planning to travel at that time and we will be reaching out directly to them for information about their trip”.
Olayinka who commended the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika for the planned repair work added that there are no catering services as well as the adequate technology like the Common User Terminal Equipment, among others in Abuja.
Reacting to the development, Secretary of Aviation Roundtable, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd) stated that the flight diversion to Kaduna would serve as a “windfall” to domestic airlines.
He said, “The domestic airlines need no prompt to know that the exercise is a windfall for those among them that have capacity in terms of fleet, air and ground crew. Those that lack should go and source for them through buying, borrowing, hiring. The exercise provides minimum of 20 extra flights daily to Abuja besides the normal daily flights.”