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Car hire firms breathe sigh of relief as Nigeria Abuja airport reopens

Nnamdi Azikiwe AirportCar hire firms operating at one of Nigeria’s key airports expressed delight when the facility reopened last week. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is the gateway to the African nation’s capital city, Abuja, and had been shut down for six weeks to allow for essential repairs to its only runway to be carried out.

Car hire providers, taxi drivers and vendors based at the airport told media sources in Abuja they had struggled during the closure. They said spare cash for school fees and life’s necessities had been in short supply.

One car hire firm employee explained that most had not believed the work would be carried out by the deadline the federal government had promised. Ikechukwu Chudi praised the government for keeping to its pledge of ensuring the work was completed by the deadline.

Several other service suppliers based at the airport said they had expected the repair and maintenance work to take six months at least and in the meantime they would likely go bankrupt. Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport closed on March 8 and opened again in the middle of last week.

Nigerian aviation-minister Hadi Sirika was on board a private aircraft which landed in time for the airport’s reopening ceremonies. His jet was soon followed by the first public flight, an Ethiopian Airlines service from Addis Ababa.

Aviation authorities in Nigeria say that during the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport shutdown, shuttle services ferried 17,500 passengers to and from Kaduna Airport. The two facilities are more than 200kms apart.



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