Abuja airport runway will improve safety when completed-SAHCOL Boss
by Friday Nwosu
Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHOL), Rizwan Kadiri has said the proposed closure of the Nnandi Azikwe International Airport (NAIA), by the federal government was for the safety of airline operators in the industry.
Kadiri said despite the hardship the closure of the airport will bring to the airline operators, the industry will be the better for it when it is reopened.
Speaking in a media chat with Journalists on the operations of the company, he said closure of the airport will no doubt impact on the operations of the company saying that it will be losing a lot of money.
Kadiri noted that transporting the company’s staff and equipment to Kaduna airport could be additional losses to the organization, noting that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will be notify to compensate the company for its losses.
He said:”I am happy for what the government is doing; it is well overdue, it is very important for safety, so I think that the government is taking a right step in the right direction to get this runway repaired”
“For us, we are still hanging in a balance, we are definitely going to lose a lot of revenue because if the airlines don’t fly into Abuja, that is our present burden, so if we make about 70, 80m in Abuja in a month we will lost that, who is going to give it to us”
“Now, we have to move our equipment to Kaduna airport, we have to spend money to transport staff, give them extra allowances, so that is a huge burden on us, we are even looking at how many flights that will be coming into Kaduna, how much manpower do we require there and how much equipment that we have to ship and we will definitely put a request to FAAN and they should consider giving us something in return for the revenue losses that we are going to have” Kadiri stressed.
Commenting on the challenges faced by the organization in 2016, the SAHCOL boss said that many importers refused to import due to the unavailability of dollars which they could use to transect their businesses, noting that the end result was drop on the importation of cargoes from abroad.
“2016 was a very challenging year; definitely a lot of achievements that could have been achieved were a bit slow. It could have been worse than this but we thank God that we have managed to keep afloat” he said.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had indicated its readiness to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on March 8, 2017 for repairs of the damaged runway.