‘Why foreign airlines shun Kaduna Airport’

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The Federal Government should commit  additional funds into the construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja, the former Director General/CEO of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Arnold Demuren has said. Demuren who stated this in an interview with Daily said a second runway remains the best panacea that would resolve the challenge of having to shut down the NAIS and diverting traffic to Kaduna Airport anytime major repair works has to be done at the Abuja airport.
He also explained that most foreign airlines had backed out of flying into the Kaduna Airport purely because such a venture would yield less financial dividends to them. Last week Wednesday, a Boeing 787 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines and carrying 50 passengers touched down at the Kaduna International Airport at about 11.30am, thus signaling the commencement of scheduled commercial international flight operations at the airport. That same day (March 8, 2017), other local carriers like Dana Air, Medview Airlines, and Air Peace also flew into the airport.  However, most foreign carriers like British Airways, AirFrance -KLM, Lufthansa and south African Airways that usually flew into the Abuja airport had refused to fly into the Kaduna airport in line with government directive.
“We may find it difficult to get foreign airlines involved in schedule operations to go to Kaduna because that’s is purely a corporate decision,” Demuren said noting that they have to look at the commercial side of the business before making a decision.. Demuren explained that in recent years, foreign airlines had scaled down their flight frequencies into Abuja airport with some of them even exiting the route. “I am not sure we can force them to go to Kaduna airport because even Abuja airport traffic has dropped for foreign airlines unlike when Abuja was booming with lots of activities with the government awarding contracts s no longer awarding contracts,” he added.
Improving foreign airlines’ traffic flow into Kaduna airport would therefore involve stimulating economic activities in the state, especially tourism. In this regards, the Kaduna State government can partner travel agents to boost its hotel/tourism industry. Analysts say about 500 new jobs can be created out of the Kaduna airport.

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