So far, Nigerian airline operators are estimated to have lost about N10billion due to the closure of the Abuja airport.
The airport was shut for six weeks by government to enable contractors carry out reconstruction work on its runway.
The airliners lament that they have had to cut down their operations by 40 per cent in the first three weeks of the repair work on the Federal capital-based airport.
They revealed that the reduction in operations has cost them not less than N10 billion, incured from loss of revenue and increased overhead costs.
The local airline operators also regretted that most international airlines, except Ethiopian Airline, were still foot dragging on their promise to reconsider their refusal in directing their Abuja bound flights to Kaduna.
The Secretary of the Association of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AAON), Mr. Muftao Adunsaki, said that failure of the international airlines to land in Kaduna had been the main reason most local operators are counting additional losses.
According to him: “Before the closure, the operators had been grappling with a number of operational issues, including low passenger traffic, high cost of aviation fuel and high overhead costs.
“It is not actually the use of Kaduna Airport that is reducing the revenue projection of operators, rather it made the bad situation take a worse shape,” he stated.
But some of the operators, who spoke on the issue on Saturday, said contrary to government promise of making some facilities available in Kaduna, a number of services supposed to have been rendered by government are yet to be made available, while the ones available are not upto expectation.
For instance, they lamented about limited shuttle buses for passengers and staff of most private companies sent to Kaduna by their employers.
Also passengers are quick in reeling out their gruesome experiences at the airport lounge and the inconvenience of traveling by road to Abuja.
“We had the impression that there should be helicopters to shuttle passengers to Abuja and save passengers the pain of long journey by road”, said a Nigerian-German, who returned from holiday on Saturday.
Both the airline operators and the passengers said that any extension of the Abuja Airport runway repairs, beyond the planned six week-duration, would impact greatly on the sector.
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