But despite the assurance, only Ethiopian airline has agreed to fly to Kaduna.
Two other airlines – Turkish Airways and Lufthansa – are yet to decide if they would fly the route during the six-week closure.
THE Federal Government said yesterday that tight security has been put in place on Kaduna highway, few hours to the closure of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,Abuja for runway repair.It added that there will be heavy security presence in every five kilometres along the route.
The government said talks are ongoing with the two airlines and their stance would be made public soon. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris and others said this in Abuja yesterday at a ministerial press briefing on the airport closure.
Sirika said: “We are going ahead with the closure of the airport as announced and it will be done by midnight of March 8.”
He emphasised that the closure would not exceed the stipulated six weeks.
On the number of foreign airlines that will fly to Kaduna, Sirika said: “So far, we have Ethiopian airline. They said they would be coming with a brand new airplane, the latest aircraft in the whole world – 787.
“We are still talking with Lufthansa and Turkish airline on their intent to come. We may conclude today. At the end of the day, we will know if they would or not.”
On information about movement of passengers and flight schedule, passengers were advised to visit www.abujaairport closure.info.
On the losses that airline operators would incur following the closure, the government said the loss would be in the interest of safety and could not be compared to the lives of travellers.
On how much the repair work will cost, the minister said: “I do not have the exact figure now. But I know the contractors were paid in excess of N5 billion.”
He added that bus and train service for passengers from and to Abuja would be free.
Sirika said there will also be helicopter arrangement for those who can afford it.
On security arrangements, Idris said the police have deployed various units to ensure safety and security of passengers.
Some of the units deployed are: Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD), Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU), Mobile Police Force (MPF), Force Animal Branch (FAB) and the airwing.
Idris said: “All units have been fully deployed. Patrol vehicles, helicopters to cover the airport and some of the flashpoint areas like Katari. We will ensure periodic surveillance.
“Also, at every five kilometres on the road, officers of the police will be on ground to ensure adequate security.”