Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Govt, foreign airline operators meet

THE Federal Government held a closed-door meeting yesterday with foreign airlines in Abuja over proposed closure of Nandi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to repair its runway.
Highlighting what transpired at the end of the meeting, which lasted for over one and half hours, Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika said the operators will inspect some of the facilities that will be installed in Kaduna before the closure.

According to Sirika: “Foreign airline operators in Abuja have certain questions, queries and concerns and I am glad to inform you that even though we have not exhausted the questions 100 per cent, we have done so by 95 per cent.

“They want to know whether Kaduna airport has an operational fence to ensure that the airport is secured, to know whether the airport can contain several aircraft at the same time, to know the level of preparedness as regards security within the city of Kaduna en-route Abuja and the airport.

“They want to know whether there is availability of Jet A1 in Kaduna and whether the airlines will participate in the screening of passengers and baggage, handling of aircraft and catering.

“Possibility of having a breakdown of any of the aircraft in operation in Kaduna, whether the airport or Kaduna as a city has the capacity to contain such breakdown and if there is availability of engine system by which airlines talk to themselves.”

The operators, according to the minister, sought to know if there is an office that the operators can use for the stipulated time.

He said: “They also wanted to know if there are airline offices that can be used temporarily for six weeks and whether there are enough boarding gates and what happens, if there is any delay in catering, which is a necessity in flight operations?”

Some of the foreign airlines present at the meeting are: Ethiopian airways, Air France/KLM, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Egypt Air, and South Africa Airways.

The minister noted that a media chat will be held to discuss further fears and concerns on the closure of the airport.

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