Mar 21, 2017: The Federal Government has approved the operation of private and commercial helicopter services at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja which was shut down last week for the rehabilitation of the runway and other facilities. The work, which costs N5 billion, is to end on April 19.

Following the stress associated with the over three-hour trip by road to Kaduna where in-and-out bound Abuja flights have been directed in the wake of the closure, this approval of chopper shuttle would ease the many troubles put in the way of air travellers.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who reportedly said the permission was given by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno. He recalled that the same office had earlier banned all flight services pending the completion of the repairs.

"The NSA has the constitutional responsibility vested in him to advise the president on national security matters. Within his wisdom, he had earlier issued out letters banning helicopter operation in the airport."

"But the National Security Adviser early yesterday approved that helicopters will of course continue to fly to Abuja airport from wherever." The minister, however, noted that the procedure for landing was being worked out.

He goes on to say, "This means that helicopters can come into Abuja and out bearing in mind that within the metropolitan city of Abuja there are no fly zones and this is very normal in every country."

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