The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, says the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, will be closed for six weeks in February and March 2017 for total repairs on the runway.
Sirika told newsmen in Abuja last Monday that the closure was to allow Julius Berger carry out total re-construction on the badly damaged airport runway.
He made this known while the runway would still be put to use under the six months of rehabilitation, the six weeks would allow the mid section of the runway to be reconstructed.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstruction through the emergency procurement procedure for work to commence.
According to him, this is because of the centrality, economy and the importance of Abuja to the general administration of the country.
He made it clear that government could not afford to close down Abuja airport for a long time as palliative repairs had been ongoing at the runway for about three months now.
“From start to finish of the runway, it will take six months. However, we will be using the runway almost throughout the period except for about six weeks when the runway will be closed.
“That is when we are going to do the mid-section of the runway.
“Also that the government has accepted the design done by the contractor. The runway will last for more than 10 years on completion early next year’’, he said.
Sirika said Abuja bound passengers from any part of the world will use Kaduna airport as alternative during the six weeks closure to passengers.
He equally mentioned that arrangement had been finalised with Kaduna State, adding that while the Federal Government will provide buses to convey the passengers to Abuja, the state government will provide security.
According to him, it will cost government substantial amount of money “but we think that palliative approach is wrong because three years down we will come back to do the same repairs. (NAN)