The federal government says it prefers to lose billions of dollars in revenue than to risk lives.
Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, said this on Monday, disclosing that Thursday had been slated for engaging stakeholders in the industry on issues arising from the proposed closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Sirika had earlier announced closure of the airport for repairs on its runway.
He explained that Thursday’s meeting was a follow-up to the decision to temporarily shut down operations at the airport for six weeks in February and March.
According to the minister, the stakeholders’ forum will afford him with the opportunity to officially inform the sector’s players of the decision.
“It is also to brief them on efforts being made to ensure that the use of the Kaduna international airport as an alternative during the six-week closure of the Abuja Airport is seamless and hitch-free,” read the statement signed by James Odaudu, deputy director, press and public affairs, ministry of transportation.
“The stakeholders will also be expected to make their contributions and key into the plans to make their operations during the period less problematic.”
Sirika said the forum was in line with government’s belief in hearing people’s opinions in formulating and executing policies.
He said government is aware of the likely high level of discomfort and inconvenience the proposed closure of the airport would cause air transport passengers, airline operators and other service providers.
Sirika explained that the decision was informed by safety and security concerns.
The minister also disclosed that the ministry would invite other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as security agencies and the Kaduna state government who were expected to play roles during the six-week period.