The Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), yesterday endorsed the plan by the Federal Government to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for six-weeks to repair its runway.
ANAP Secretary General, Comrade Adulrazak Saidu, who made the position known to journalists at the Lagos airport, said that the association is in total support of closure of Abuja Airport and use of Kaduna Airport as alternative airport in the interest of safety of the air travellers.
According to him, Kaduna is the best alternative to Abuja airport as it has a longer runway than Minna Airport, and better access road to Abuja.
Saidu advised stakeholders to desist from unnecessary politicking and face safety issues, stressing that ANAP is talking strictly on professional levels.
He insisted that Abuja airport repair is not negotiable and expressed his surprise at the input of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on the issue of Abuja Airport repair.
"I am surprised at the input and impact of NCAA on this issue. I am calling on the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to sack Usman, the Director General of NCAA because the Authority has criminally remained silent on the issue. The silence of the regulator is suspect".
He therefore, emphasised that ANAP is disassociating itself from the three unions’ letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, kicking against the airport closure.
He said: "I am also surprised unions can dabble into professional matter. The letter to the President has become political. We don't need to wait for a crash to fix Abuja Airport runway. There is no parking space in the air and that is why we are emphasising safety. Safety and security are critical areas to consider."
Saidu also lamented the hardship and damage international carriers are passing through, saying that they have been victims of damaged runway at the airports.
"International airlines are losing millions of dollars to replace their landing gear. An Air France aircraft is now parked in Abuja due to bad landing gear arising from poor runway. Another Lufthansa aircraft is also parked in Port Harcourt for the same issue," he pointed out.
He made it known that the association is not happy the way unions are run in the sector and that is why they came up with ANAP.
Also speaking on the Abuja airport repairs and possible closure of the runway, Secretary General of Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) branch, Comrade Emeka Njoku, said it is expedient that the authorities repair the airport