No need to shut Abuja airport for runway repair, airline operators tell Nigerian govt

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

Nigerian airlines have told the federal government that there is no need to close the Abuja airport to conduct repairs on its runway.

The Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria, Noggie Meggison, said though his members would support any decision taken by the federal government, such closure as announced was unnecessary.

The Federal Government had announced that the airport would be closed from March 8 for six weeks to enable repairs on the only runway.

Mr. Meggison, however, said the repairs could be carried out at night while flights are allowed to operate during the day.

He said the operators were of the opinion that repairs of the runway could be carried out between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. while flight operations could take place during the day.

The airline chief said Gatwick airport in the UK, which like Abuja airport has only one runway, did not shut down when repairs were carried out on its runway. This is despite that Gatwick has more than 10 times the volume of air traffic that the Abuja airport has, he said.

Mr. Meggison spoke at a stakeholder’s forum in Abuja organised by the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

The chairman, who commended the minister for his forthrightness in piloting the affairs in the sector, said there had been a lot of actions by Mr. Sirika in the sector since he assumed office.

He urged the government to explore possibility of carrying out the repairs on the runway at night while flights would be operating in the day time, saying his association was in total support of the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport runway which he said had become a safety concern.

Similarly, Osho Joseph,  a representative of foreign airlines in Abuja, said that Kaduna might be an alternative for local airlines, but not for foreign airlines at the moment.

Mr. Joseph also suggested that February to March could have been the ideal time for the closure to beat onset of rainfall.

The Deputy British High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, express readiness to support the government throughout the period of the closure.

She debunked the insinuations that the government of Britain might close down its embassy in Abuja, saying the country would stand by Nigeria at all times.

The Representative of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Gambo Hamza, assured of the state government’s readiness to ensure smooth operations during the period.

He said that the government had begun cleaning up of the airport, adding that adequate security arrangement had been put in place.

The current arrangement by the Nigerian government during the repairs is that airlines would land at the Kaduna airport and passengers would be transported in secure buses from Kaduna to Abuja.


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  • amazing2012

    Hahahahahah ignorant is a relief to some blind mind !

  • thusspokez

    Mr. Meggison, however, said the repairs could be carried out at night while flights are allowed to operate during the day.

    This is what countries do across the world, except the mumu Nigerian government which has even set up a committee to oversee the diversion of flights to Abuja to Kaduna.

    • FineBoy

      Take heart.
      U have the option of travelling by road. That is what people do in other clime. They don’t insist it must be by flight.
      Mumu passenger

      • Suleiman.

        Travel by road, Armed robbers will be licking their lips with delight…

        • FineBoy

          Travel by air and u r in a moving/flying casket.

          • thusspokez

            Better even to trek in the bush. What a very green and environmental friendly way to travel across the country!

    • Rommel

      If your govt is mumu,what then are you? remember in the land of the blind

      • thusspokez

        It is not my government, there!

  • Charlie

    I can design concrete mixes that will break at 4000 PSI in 3 hours using locally available cement with some polycarboxylate superplasticizer, which a fully loaded Boeing 747 can land on in 4 hours after casting. I am sure they know this too. I bet they are scheming to built another runway that we don’t need so that some people and the likes of Julius Berger can make easy money. It was only 2 years ago that the plan to build a new runway for over $500 million was shut down by Federal house. It shows the wickedness of our people, they don’t mind risking the lives of thousands of passengers and the image of the country by having them risk the travel by road from Kaduna to Abuja.

  • Mufu Ola

    I thought Stella Oduah did this runway thing a few years ago.

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  • uzodee

    Hmmm…with Nnamdi Kanu,s trial a few days away and foreign media and human rights observers coming to Abuja – the timing cannot be a coincidence

    • thusspokez

      If so, the government in collusion with the prosecution could have left the Abuja airport open and instead moved Kanu’s trial to a state with no International airport. Further, you seem to think that the world media knows or even give a damn who Kanu is.

      Just look at him. Igbo once had Azikiwe, Aguiyi-Ironsi, Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Emeka Anyaoku, K. O. Mbadiwe, Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Dora Akunyili, etc., and NOW they have Nnamdi Kanu. Chineke! Is Kanu the best that Igbos could do as their leader?

      • uzodee

        They’ll also move Kuje prison, justice Binta Nyako, the masked witnesses – possibly to my village.
        In case you are unaware, Kanu has demonstrated passion, commitment and sense of purpose. I admire him, for he has hit the nail – the same nail dodged by Azikiwe, Chinua Achebe (just before he died), Cyprain Ekwensi and Dora Akunyili- squarely on the head. Before I forget, hurry up and participate in the on-going online mini-referendum on Biafra. At least you can put your vote where your mouth is.