Experts and industry operators have warned that the Kaduna airport cannot receive scheduled international flights and should not be used for such during the six-week period that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, will be closed for repairs.
The Federal Government is perfecting plans to close the NAIA beginning from March 8, 2016 to carry out a thorough reconstruction work on its runways and taxi ways.
The exercise, according to the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, will last for six weeks and during the period all Abuja-bound flights will be diverted to the Kaduna airport.
International airlines met the Federal Government on Tuesday in Abuja and raised various concerns that should be addressed in order to enable them to effectively fly to the Kaduna airport.
But experts and industry operators insisted on Friday that the Kaduna airport was not fit enough for scheduled international operations.
The Head of Research, Zenith Travels, a renowned aviation services firm, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, told our correspondent that although the Kaduna airport was preferable, its safety and security limits should not be over-stretched.
He said, “The available has become the preferable. However, I don’t want the (Kaduna) airport to be stretched beyond its limit. The limit here is safety, security and infrastructure. The airport cannot receive scheduled international flights for now based on the above and the process of filing new status with requisite international bodies.
“In the light of the above, the airport should just handle scheduled domestic flights while non-scheduled flights can alternate with the Minna airport. For international carriers, the best option which was identified by them is Lagos.”
Odunayo added, “The insurance premium and accompany litigation make Kaduna not suitable for international operations.”