By Yetunde Verissimo, The Sight News
Kaduna- The Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika has disclosed that the Ministry of Aviation is in talks with some private individuals so as to commence direct flights to London, Heathrow Airport from the Kaduna International Airport.
The Minister who made the disclosure after a tour to the Kaduna Airport, said though there were a number of airports that would have served as an alternative, Kaduna was chosen after considerations of transportation and the runway size.
He added also that the number of control towers, instrumentation lending system’s test(ILS) as well as the level of reconstruction done warranted the move of flights to the Kaduna International Airport.
Sirika who stressed that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport which had not been maintained or reconstructed for over 35years is not just going through maintenance but is going through a total runway reconstruction, added also that the new runway when completed will serve for over 10 years.
He further said that although the NAIA would be closed for only six weeks, Maintenance would continue for the next six months.
Earlier, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohamed called on Nigerians to see the process as a necessary evil that would avert a greater evil in the future, adding that there was no other better alternative than to close the Abuja airport for repairs.
He further explained that the government in collaboration with the airline operators had provided buses and trains for passengers Between Abuja and Kaduna .
According to him; “There is no doubt the closure will cause a few hardships but the Federal Government has put in place some contingency plans to alleviate the hardships to ensure security and safety of all intended passengers.
“The objective of this Government is to ensure minimum interruption of airline services, proper safety and security, minimum inconvenience on both passengers and airline operators and we have achieved that” he said.
Meanwhile, Passengers on the other hand expressed dismay at the situation of things as well as the level of stress involved, but further expressed gratitude to the government on the logistics put in place.
They also had preference of the train over road transportation as over 90 per cent of them when asked opted for the rail transportation over road.
This visit is coming two weeks into the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and commencement of operations at the Kaduna Airport.