By ANTHONY AWUNOR, Lagos
Flight operations in and out of the Kaduna International Airport have dropped drastically, following the re-opening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja after a six-week closure for reconstruction and repair of its runways.
Domestic carriers operating in the country have systematically reduced their flights into the newly refurbished airport, citing low passenger traffic and the decision of passengers to fly into Abuja directly as reasons for the development.
It was gathered that Medview, a leading domestic airline, which operated as many as five flights per day into Kaduna airport now goes once daily.
Air Peace, insider sources told LEADERSHIP Sunday yesterday, has suspended its flight into Kaduna airport for now, as all their flights are routed directly to Abuja and other routes.
It is the same for Dana Air which has also suspended its flight into Kaduna but hopes to resume, perhaps in the coming days.
The airport which until April19 enjoyed the status of alternative airport to Abuja was last week hit by thunderstorm which damaged communication facilities, resulting in the management shutting down the airspace.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that airlines which operated flights to the airport could not connect its communication facility throughout that period.
The manager, Mrs. Amina Ozi-Salami, lamented the damage but noted that the management was on the top of the situation.
“The rainstorm only affected one of the panels of the tower. The glass panel of the watchtower fell. At the moment, the controllers are managing with us at the fire station. That power is at the fire station of the control tower”, Ozi-Salami said.
Looking at the level of work done at the Kaduna Airport, the president of Barbedos Group Limited and Skyjet Aviation Services Limited, Alh. Kashim Bukar Shettima who commended government’s efforts advised that it be allowed to continue as alternative international airport after the Abuja airport.
“It is not in doubt that the aviation industry is a catalyst to economic growth and in that vein the government should encourage the sector by putting measures in place in order to boost the economy. The use of Kaduna as alternative airport has no doubt enhanced the volume of traffic into Kaduna with its attendant positive activities in the state”, he said.