Nigeria's second busiest airport Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport will be closed for six weeks on 8 March for repairs, putting airlines at risk of a revenue cut.

  • The airport is located in the capital Abuja and 70% of domestic passenger traffic in Nigeria passes through this airport and the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. The domestic traffic is evenly split between both airports, but the Abuja airport's share of international passenger traffic is much lower at 18%1.
  • While runway repairs go on, authorities say scheduled flights to the Abuja airport will instead go to the airport in the northern city of Kaduna (200km away), which saw some unrest in 2016 including clashes between Shi'a Muslims and security forces fueled by the government's detention of Shi'a leader Ibrahim Zakzaky.
  • The Kaduna airport was picked as an alternative because it's the best one closest to Abuja and because the city's road links to Abuja are relatively better. A new railway linking both cities was also opened last year.
  • Foreign airlines have especially been cautious about flying to the north because of the insecurity in parts of the region, and they've been using the Abuja airport to serve their customers heading north.


Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika will meet stakeholders this week to work things out and allay doubts, but local airlines will be most affected by the repair plans given the Abuja airport accounts for more than a third of their business. It won't help that they're currently dealing with aviation fuel shortages and other rising costs due to the wider economic problems in the country.



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