By Scroll reporter Lagos, Nigeria.
Supo Atobatele, immediate past General Manager, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA and Publisher Air Transport magazine speaks on the effects of closure of Abuja airport.
Effect on Business: Many businesses will be paralysed. Many Nigerians are afraid of travelling by road because of high crime rate and road crashes. In the area of domestic flight it will affect revenue and operations some airline operators may lose loyal customers. For foreign airlines, they are scared of Kaduna. Apart from the fear of insecurity, they do not want to incur additional operational cost. Time flight from Lagos to Abuja is 55 minutes. But it takes one hour 20 minutes to fly to Kaduna. This means that they have to burn fuel for extra 50 minutes if they go to and from kaduna. If the airlines decide to add the cost of additional fuel to air tickets, passengers will complain.
Effect on government: Government will lose packing and landing fees, for the six weeks. What government will lose in Abuja, Kaduna cannot gain hundred percent. Government will also lose substantially from sale of tickets at the toll gates. The five percent that FAAN collect per litre from sale of Aviation fuel will also be affected.
The same thing goes for the five percent tickect sales that goes to NAMA and NCAA. Another five percent cargo sales tax to NAMA and NCAA will be reduced. There is N1,000 airport passenger tax that goes to FAAN. This of course will reduce drastically because Kaduna cannot witness the high number of passenger as Abuja airport.
Effect on individual: Occupants of shops who have paid one year rent would be temporarily out of business.
The airport taxi drivers, those selling dried meat known as Kilishi and other categories of people selling one thing or the other will be affected.
Also the airlines staff will be idle and redundant for the period of closure.
However it is good that government has taken the bold step to build a run way that will last 10-15 years if it is done properly.