Three ministers have been summoned to appear before the upper legislative chamber in this regard. They are: Minister of Transportation; Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Power, Works and Housing; Babatunde Fashola and Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
Other stakeholders in the Aviation Ministry like the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, the Managing Directors of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) were also summoned.
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Calling for a better option to the Abuja airport closure, after Senator Hope Uzodinma, (Imo state) moved the motion, the upper legislative chamber said the closure of the airport would bring untold hardship to travellers.
The motion reads;
“The senate notes with concern the decision of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to close Abuja airport for six weeks from March 6, 2017 to carry out repairs.
“Senate is worried that a six-week outright closure of a major and the only airport in the Federal Capital Territory can trigger untold hardships on air travellers.
“The senate is also aware of the logistics and security challenges the diversion of Abuja-bound flights to Kaduna will throw up.
“The senate is determined to explore all other possible options that can avert the planned total closure of a strategic national airport for six weeks.”
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who seconded the motion, rejected the planned closure of the airport.
He said many countries have repaired airports without closure, and many lives have been lost on Kaduna road. Though admitting that there is a need to repair the airport’s runway, he argues against closure of the airport.
Similarly, Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) described the planned action as one which would embarrass the country, as well as affect the country economically, politically and socially. Many other senators spoke against the planned action, calling for a better option.
Meanwhile, foreign airlines are considering suspending their services over government’s decision to close down the Abuja Airport runway for six weeks.
Major European and American carriers were considering this option because they deemed the plan to divert air traffic to Kaduna Airport as “very unsafe for foreigners.”
Concerned stakeholders have expressed fears that inbound and outbound travellers would be faced with lesser flight options, hike in fares and loss in revenue to government agencies if the foreign airlines carry out their suspension threat.