Nigeria’s, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja (IATA: ABV, ICAO: DNAA) opened Tuesday, a day ahead of schedule after six weeks of repairs to the runway. The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika had earlier said the airport would open Wednesday.
The airport had been temporarily shut down on 9th of March, 2017, for six weeks of runway rehabilitation exercise. The runway has been in use since the airport was built in 1982, and expired about 14 years ago. After much debates, the rehabilitation exercise was awarded for the sum of N5.8 million and work began on the runway.
The closure of one of West Africa’s busiest airports had been another blow to Nigeria’s already suffering economy.
Piecemeal attempts to fix the runway since its lifespan ended 14 years ago had failed. But after a South African Airways plane was damaged on landing in August, other airlines either stopped flying to Nigeria’s second-busiest airport or threatening to do so.
Inadequate maintenance of infrastructure has long been a problem in Nigeria, mainly because of corruption in one of Africa’s largest economies.
Local and foreign airlines have reopened sales and bookings on the Abuja route. Local airlines are already making bookings on the Lagos-Abuja, Sokoto-Abuja-Lagos, Abuja-Kaduna, Port Harcourt-Abuja amongst others for flights.
An Ethiopian airlines Airbus A350 has landed at the rehabilitated Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport in Abuja after 6 weeks of closure.The airport was closed on March 8 to enable the federal government carry out repairs on the runway
Kingsley Nwokoma, President of foreign airlines association in Nigeria, told reporters last week that foreign airlines have opened booking for tickets and cargo flights to Abuja.
“After the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Sirika staked his job and seconded by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, some foreign airlines have started selling tickets to Abuja.”
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (IATA: ABV, ICAO: DNAA) is located in Abuja, FCT, Nigeria, and is the main airport serving the Nigerian capital city. It was named after Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. It consists of an international and a domestic terminal. Both terminals share the same runway. In 2009, the airport handled 3,196,438 passengers. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has its head office on the airport grounds.