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Abuja airport reopens

 …Union commends FG

 The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, has formally reopened for operations after six weeks of closure.The airport was closed to allow for the repair of its only runway.

On Tuesday, an Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350-900 became the first plane to land at the repaired runway.

The new plane landed at about 12:10 p.m.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the plans by the Ethiopian Airlines to land the new plane in Abuja.

Local Nigerian airlines, including Medview and Air Peace, have indicated their decision to start traveling the Abuja route from Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has praised government for the prompt rehabilitation and re-opening Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

Mr Olayinka Abioye, the General Secretary of the union, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.

“Let me commend the Federal Government, particularly President Muhammed Buhari, for approving funds for the complete rehabilitation of the Abuja Airport’s runway.

“We must also commend the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, for spearheading the project.

“Initially, there were criticisms but in spite of it, the minister still went ahead because he believed in what he wanted to do,’’ he said.

According to him, as a union, our criticism is not against his person. We criticised him because we needed to get the best out of him as the minister.

“Today, as the airport is being declared open which is a day ahead of the promised date of April 19, we will be seen as partners in progress toward achieving the rehabilitation of Abuja Airport’s runway,’’ he said.

Abioye expressed optimism that the runway would last the next 10 years before any major rehabilitation would be carried out on it as projected by the contractor that handled the project.

The labour leader also urged government to start the construction of a second runway for the Abuja Airport.

“We are hoping that between now and in the next two to three years, we should have a second runway in Abuja Airport.

“Further to that, the airport should have its own domestic wing’’, he said.

Abioye said that Nigerians were demanding for a holistic approach where the country would have a full-fledged and functional domestic terminal rather than directing local aircraft to the international terminal of the airport to land and take-off.

“Domestic or local aircraft should land and take-off at the domestic terminal while international flights should operate from the international wing of the airport.

“This will give the operators room to bring in more local and international aircraft to the Abuja Airport,’’ he further said.


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