Lufthansa refuses to fly to Kaduna during Abuja Airport shutdown
Feb 6, 2017: German carrier Lufthansa will not fly to the Kaduna airport during the closure of the NnamdiAzikiwe International Airport in Abuja, suggest news agency reports.
Lufthansa's statement was the fallout of federal government's decision to divert flights to the Kaduna airport, located about 100 miles north of Abuja, while the main airport is undergoing repairs, scheduled to take six weeks from March 8.
"We won't fly from Kaduna during the closure of Abuja airport for six weeks," the Lufthansa spokesman told news agency Reuters without stating a reason for the decision.
The runway at the main airport at Abuja has been deteriorating. Some major international carriers have refused to fly there while some aircraft have reported damage to their undercarriage.
While it is closed, Abuja-bound passengers will have to fly to Kaduna and travel by bus to the capital, guarded by security, on a road where kidnappings have taken place in the past few years.
The plans for Kaduna to handle Abjua flights have been met with scepticism. The airport handled just 12 flights in December 2015, the last month for which Nigeria's airports authority has figures, compared with 812 that used Abuja.
A new terminal is being built but when Reuters visited it last month it was still under construction with cables hanging from ceilings.
Contingency plans are in place for the existing terminal to be used.
The temporary closure of Abuja's airport has been criticised by aviation labour unions, business leaders and diplomats.In October, Dubai-based Emirates stopped flying to Abuja, blaming the state of the runway and low load factor, among other reasons, according to the Ministry of Aviation.