Nigeria: Countdown clock is ticking on Abuja airport closure
Nigeria’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport will close at the end of the day Wednesday, and remain under repair for at least six weeks. The planned reopening is on April 19.
Failed portions of the runway at the Abuja airport, which had become too damaged to safely navigate, will be fixed in the interim.
Air traffic that normally uses the Abuja facility will be routed through Kaduna Airport, a few hours by road to the north of the shut-down airport in the Nigerian capital. Travelers will be ferried back and forth during repairs, with initial security screening of passengers and luggage first handled in Abuja.
Travelers will then be taken by bus under heavy security to the Kaduna facility, and screened for boarding there. “This is in line with the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to mitigate the discomfort of air passengers resulting from the closure,’’ said aviation minister Hadi Sirika.
Nigerian authorities promised road repairs between Abuja and Kaduna to ensure smooth and safe travel between the cities. Rail travel to Kaduna also is an option.
The alternate facility has been inspected for safety, although efforts at providing passenger amenities were incomplete and forcing a last-minute rush.
Most foreign airlines, however, have elected to suspend service to Abuja rather than use Kaduna, including Lufthansa Airlines, Air France and KLM.
For more information about the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport closure, check the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Transportation website. It includes information about Kaduna Airport, free shuttle bus reservations online, Abuja-Kaduna train schedules and other details.
Image: Nigerian Ministry of Transportation