LAGOS, April 18 Nigeria is reopening the airport
in the capital Abuja on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said, following a
six-week closure for runway repairs that disrupted international
air traffic to the country.
During the shutdown, authorities diverted flights to Kaduna,
a provincial airport 160 km (100 miles) away, where carriers
including British Airways, Lufthansa and South African
Airways refused to fly on security grounds.
Abuja is the political nerve centre of Africa's most
populous nation and a major business hub in the continent's
There have been no official estimates of the economic impact
of the closure, but Abuja International Airport handled 812
flights in December 2015, the last month for which the Federal
Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has figures. The comparative
figure for Kaduna was 12.
Announcing Abuja airport's reopening, FAAN spokeswoman
Henrietta Yakubu said an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis
Ababa would land there at around 11:30 am (1030 GMT).
Authorities had earlier said the airport, which has been
closed since March 8, would reopen on Wednesday.
"The rehabilitation of the runway was completed 24 hours
ahead of schedule," Yakubu said, adding that other airlines'
flights would resume on Wednesday.
The repairs to the badly damaged runway, carried out by
construction firm Julius Berger, were scheduled after airlines
threatened to stop flying to Abuja.
Ethiopian Airlines was the only foreign airline to use
Kaduna airport during the closure.
Passengers who landed there were transported to the capital
on guarded buses along a road where kidnappings have taken place
in recent years. The six weeks of transfers passed without
(Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by John Stonestreet)