The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi have appeared before the Senate to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja.
The Senate invited both ministers on Tuesday to explain the reason for the closure and rather explore other options besides closing the airport.
Lawmakers are opposing the closure of the airport which they say would bring hardship on local and international travellers.
The Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika, explained that to continue to operate, the Abuja airport will be unsafe and unreasonable as there are daily incidents on the runway.
Captain Sirika said that every flight plan always have alternate landing routes and Kaduna has always been the alternate for Abuja airport.
He also pointed out that most of the sections of the runway have collapsed and if multiple sections have collapsed, it means the entire runway has collapsed.
The runway in the Abuja airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which had been exceeded.
The Nigerian Government has restated its resolve to shut down the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja from March 8.
The government also reassured international and local airline operators, as well as air travellers of adequate security at the Kaduna airport.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made the assertion on Thursday at a special stakeholders’ meeting on the temporary closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
He emphasised the importance of the closure, pointing out the security and safety measures put in place to ease air transportation to and from Kaduna airport.
The Minister, who addressed all the concerns raised by the stakeholders, said that the closing of the airport was a painful decision taken in the interest of all stakeholders.
He said that the Federal Government remained committed to the safety of air travellers, stressing that the airport runway would be rehabilitated within six weeks.
In their separate remarks, the chairmen of Airline Operators of Nigeria and international airline operators, Mr Noggie Maggison and Mr Osho Joseph, expressed objections over the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, also raised concerns about the movement of passengers from Abuja to Kaduna.
The runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was built in 1982 with a life span of 20 years.
Fourteen years after its lifespan expired, the airstrip has been adjudged unsafe for air travellers.