Following Abuja airport closure, the Federal Government has banned any planned helicopter shuttle service from Kaduna Airport to Abuja by some helicopter companies.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Munguno, issued the directive through a memo which reads;
“In view of the closure of the airport, air travelers will be required to travel by road/train to Abuja from Kaduna International Airport. This will undoubtedly cause constraints on the movement of some passengers who will aim to travel using other means, notably the use of commercial ferry helicopters.
“Please be reminded that the airspace over the Federal Capital Territory Abuja is controlled and only security flights or those with the requisite security clearance from the Presidency are granted overhead clearance for obvious security reasons.
“Consequently, you are to note and ensure that no charter or commercial helicopter ferry flights are allowed to fly within Abuja airspace.”
Many stakeholders have been expecting a boom time at the Kaduna International Airport since January, when the federal government announced its decision to close down the Abuja International Airport for six weeks.
Kaduna Airport has responded almost immediately to this call with a flurry of activities, as about 605,000 passengers are expected to use the airport within the six weeks Abuja Airport would be shut.
Although some foreign airlines have refused to land at the airport, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has however said with the commencement of operations and the successful landing of the Ethiopian Airlines flight, more foreign operators would follow suit.
In the meantime, Air passengers plying the Kaduna International Airport (KIA) are facing fresh hurdles as airlines operating at the aerodrome are insisting on only cash transactions, which runs contrary to the economy’s cashless policy.
The newly refurbished airport is currently operating without Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Point of Sale (PoS) and Bureau de Change (BDC) outlets to serve international passengers especially. This has left some passengers without cash who want to buy tickets or prior booking arrangements stranded at the airport.
However, a Spokesperson for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed that banks were in the process of beginning operations at the airport, to support transactions, whether cash or cashless.
Yakubu assured that the likes of Zenith, Guaranteed Trust Bank (GTB) and First Bank were due to begin operations and open ATM facilities this week.
More so, due to the ongoing repairs at the Abuja airport runway, the Guardian reports that Nigeria International Trade and Investment Conference (NITIC) 2017 scheduled to hold this month in Abuja has been postponed.
The organisers, Africa International Trade and Development Trust, said efforts to convince registered participants and embassies to use the Kaduna International Airport were not successful.
Spokesperson for the organisers, Sand Mba Kalu said; “We have talked to several of them but they seemed not interested in coming through Kaduna airport. So, the only option was to postpone the event to June when renovation work at the Abuja airport runway would have been completed.”
The event endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development initially scheduled to hold this month at the NAF Conference Centre in Abuja would now take place in June at the same venue.
The conference with the theme “Multiple Frontiers: Moving Away From Oil” is aimed at bringing local and international stakeholders together to discuss international trade and investment in the non-oil sector, focusing on agribusiness, manufacturing and financial services.