The main airport in the Nigeria capital Abuja was shut down for compulsory repair works that are thought to last for around six weeks.
The decision to renovate the airport was made when some airlines refused to land due to poor safety standards. At the moment, the passengers are being advised to fly to Kaduna, 190 km away from the capital, instead. The only airline that still sends their planes to Abuja airport is Ethiopian Airlines.
The Abuja airport was built in 1982 and had to be improved in 2002. However, the local authorities failed to admit the need of renovation for 15 years. The government of Nigeria takes the same view on the issue. "The runway has deteriorated to such an extent that it requires complete reconstruction," the government said.
In addition the government has created Abuja Airport Closure website, which should help passengers to get necessary information on how to reach Abuja. Furthermore, a special shuttle service will run from Kaduna, where all the flights will be directed. A journey from the small regional airport should take about two hours.
International airlines are expressing their concerns over flying to Kaduna. They believe that the airport doesn’t have the right equipment and doesn’t meet high standards. Concerns are raised not only on the state of Kaduna airport, but also the road between Kaduna and Abuja. In February two German archaeologists were kidnapped on their excavation on Kaduna-Abuja road.
Henrietta Yakubu from the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria has guaranteed that the passengers would be escorted by the police. In her interview for BBC she said, “The police boss has assured members of the public that for each luxury bus on the highway, there will a police patrol vehicle on the front and behind.”