The Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika has continued to use all available forum to solicit for public cooperation and understanding regarding the diversion of commercial flights to Kaduna International during the rebuilding of the Abuja runway.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is to be closed for six weeks, effective from March 8 to April 19, 2007 for the long awaited repairs of the dilapidated runway and taxi way.
During the period, Kaduna Airport will serve as alternate for both domestic and international flights.
This has become a necessity that must be carried out to avoid possible accidents/mishap and reassure the flying public of the good and well thought-out intentions of government and requests full understanding and support. The runway was constructed in 1982 and has exceeded its design lifespan of twenty years, which had accounted largely for a number of distressed, cracked and failed portions and reduced quality and safety margin in operating into the airport. He insist that this administration take safety and security as its priority will do whatever that is necessary to keep a high safety operation standards of the air transport industry in Nigeria even when that require minimal discomfort for the users for a short period.
The repairs, he disclosed would include the removal of 48,000 tonnes of Ashphalt by milling and resurfacing of same; Renewal of more than 400 shallow bases; About 20km of cables to be laid; 50 tonnes of ashphault reinforcement to be placed and the replacement and upgrading of runway lighting system. It will leave Abuja with a brand new runway while the government is planning on building a second runway for the airport under concession agreement with private operator.