The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, will be closed for six weeks between February and March 2017, for total reconstruction.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while speaking to news men on Monday said the closure will be to allow Julius Berger carry out total reconstruction on the badly damaged airport runway.
However, during the rehabilitation which would last for six months, the runway will still be used, since government can not afford to close down Abuja airport for a long time, but the six weeks closure would allow the mid-section of the runway to be reconstructed.
During the six-weeks closure, Abuja-bound passengers from any part of the world would have to use Kaduna airport as alternative routes.
The Federal Government has already finalized plans with Kaduna state government to provide buses that will convey the passengers to Abuja, as well as provide security.
Sirika disclosed that because of the centrality, economy and the importance of Abuja to the general administration of the country, President Buhari had approved the reconstruction through the emergency procurement procedure for work to commence.
Already, in the last three months, palliative repairs had been ongoing at the runway as government could not afford to close down Abuja airport for a long time. The Minister said:
“From start to finish of the runway, it will take six months. However, we will be using the runway almost throughout the period except for about six weeks when the runway will be closed.
That is when we are going to do the mid-section of the runway. The government has accepted the design done by the contractor. The runway will last for more than 10 years on completion early next year.”
Sirika said though the rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport will cost government substantial amount of money they decided to go for the bigger option, which is to do structural repairs of the runway that will take about six months to complete.