The Kaduna International Airport is now a beehive of activities after the Nigerian government closed the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Abuja runway for repairs.
The Abuja airport would be closed for six weeks between March 8 and April 19, and is undergoing runway repairs by construction giant, Julius Berger. NAIJ.com visited the Kaduna airport on Saturday, March 11 to see first hand the operations at the airport.
Although, much smaller than the Kaduna Airport, most of the facilities in the airport seen by NAIJ.com were working perfectly. The airconditioning system was working even better than the Abuja Airport, the toilet facilities were clean and officials were courteous, respectful and exhibited professionalism.
There are help desks of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Ministry of Health and Servicom stationed around the airport.
Security was also water-tight as personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were on hand to provide security at the airport.
However, seats are not provided for passengers in the waiting area where they purchase their tickets. Passengers were seen standing as they made their travel arrangements or waited for their acquintances.
There is also no functional ATM machine at the airport, leaving some people who needed cash frustrated. This was made even worse as the airlines demanded for cash from the passengers.
There are also few restaurants at the airport area. Only few vendors are around the vicinity and their shops were crowded, with some people seating outside to have their meals.
”We are not used to this kind of crowd, so you cannot blame us for this arrangement, moreover this will only last for six weeks, so we will manage,” one of the restaurant owners told NAIJ.com.
Immediately passengers land, they were given a form which will have three options that states:
1. I need train
2. I need bus and
3. I have private arrangement
Once they choose an option, there are Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority officials on ground to guide them in whichever option they choose.
Popular transport group; Chisco, were contracted by the government to transport passengers to and fro Kaduna to Abuja, and to and fro the train stations in Rigasa, Kaduna and Kubwa and Idu in Abuja.
Some passengers however prefer to get a taxi at the Kaduna Airport directly to their destination in Abuja. The price of the taxis range from 25,000 to 30,000 naira.
A passenger who took the option of the taxi who prefered to be anonymous said he opted for it because the buses take time.
The journey from the train station to the airport is about 10 minutes drive. The road connecting both facilities is still under repairs as gravel was poured on the road as a short-term measure.
A taxi driver who drove the NAIJ.com crew complained about the state of the road saying, ”it is not convenient for our cars.”
Meanwhile, construction is still ongoing at the airport. NAIJ.com sighted workers at the rofftops of the airport working tirelessly under the supervision of their bosses.
The ceiling of the airport’s entrance area is also undergoing repairs as at the time of this report.