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Nigeria Dares British Airways, Plans To Use Standby Aircrafts For London-Kaduna Route


The Federal Government said it was exploring the possibilities of commissioning an airline to fly the Kaduna-London route should the British Airways fail to reverse its decisions not to fly the London-Kaduna route.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Serika said the government would make the announcement soon if ongoing negotiations with the airline failed to yield positive results.
British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France and some other foreign airlines have vowed not to use the Kaduna Airport for the six weeks the Abuja airport would remain closed citing security and other safety reasons.
According to him “we are still talking to other airlines to see reason and begin to come because they see that its possible, doable, safe and secure. We are personally talking to other airlines within Nigeria to see the possibility of doing. In an event where British airways may not come or Luftansha, we are into negotiations that will enable us fly into London and Kaduna daily just like the British airways was doing in Abuja.”
“I think within the next couple of days, we shall conclude and if it is possible we shall announce to Nigerians that there will be flight from Kaduna to London and back. We will be using the advantage of the gap created by British airways out of Abuja, that is going on. Yesterday afternoon I was at the British High Commission, I discussed with them for onward delivery to their own country. We are ready here, we have the aircraft that we can deploy. The airline that we can use to go into London and back on daily basis, we shall keep you posted within the next couple of days,” he said.
Meanwhile Sirika said government has satisfied all laid down safety conditions at the Kaduna Airport, to guarantee safe arrival and departure of all kinds of aircrafts from the airport.
He said the government has met all conditions for international flights operations as well as provide adequate security in and around Kaduna stressing that Ethiopian Airline, one of the world’s airlines has already commenced flights into Kaduna Airport with its latest aircraft, a Boeing 787 aircraft.
According to him “we have deployed enough personnel to handle and process passengers in Kaduna. Of course the terminal building is finished and being used for the last one week in Kaduna, am sure also the complimentary buses and train that we have provided to ferry passengers from Kaduna to Abuja and vice versa are running on smoothly and of course we plead and thank Nigerians to bear with us in this time of six weeks. We have five more weeks to go and by the grace of God we shall achieve that and things will be normal. So we appreciate your support and understanding in this regard”.
The minister said government was pleased that “At least Ethiopian airlines is coming with brand new equipment the dream liner, the newest baby in the world of aviation, the Boeing 787. Its fantastic they landed in Kaduna, the London-Kaduna, they were processed without a hitch,” he said.
Sirika noted that although the government has no intention to mete out punishment to any of the airlines that refused to use the Kaduna airport, he however stressed that the concern of the government at the moment was to encourage investment rather than apply sanctions to those already in the country.
Sirika who thanked Nigerians for understanding with government “in time of this period of emergency,” added that the decisions of the airlines to boycott the Kaduna Airport was purely a commercial decision that the government has no plans to challenge.

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