Members of the lower chamber of the country’s parliament say the airport falls short of safety standards for both domestic and international operations.
The Kaduna airport was chosen as the replacement for international and local flights into Abuja following the temporary closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja for repair work on its runway.
the lawmakers had a month ago passed a resolution supporting the relocation of flight from Abuja to Kaduna. But on Thursday, after flying into the airport, their position changed and they condemned the shoddiness of flight operations at the airport.
“God forbid that an aircraft should drop from the skies due to our own errors. This is what we should not pray to happen. As we speak, we have aircraft flying in the air. It can happen to anybody. Safety standards are not being adhered to at the airport,” the Chairman, House Committee on Loans, Aids and Debt Management, Mr. Adeyinka Ajayi, told his colleagues.
Ajayi said he had moved a motion for aviation authorities to review safety requirement at the airport before the closure of the Abuja airport.
He said ramp marking rules were abused at the airport as they were “violated by unauthorised users, who go right through the ramp marks.”
He added, “Aircraft maneuvering and parking space is inadequate to accommodate the high number of aircraft now operating in and out of the airport.
“Further disturbed that some aviation fuel marketers have been allegedly transferring Jet A-1 from bulk road tankers directly into bowers right on the tarmac and discharging same into aircraft; this poses a lot of danger to passengers and aircraft safety.”
The Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Relations, Ms. Nnenna Ukeje, stated that the lives of passengers and aircraft were exposed to danger at the Kaduna airport.
She said the space provided for passengers and parking for aircraft was inadequate and could easily lead to accidents.
Ukeje recalled how she spent close to two hours after landing at the airport, struggling to get her luggage and exit the environment.
“The Kaduna airport experiment has obviously failed,” she stated.
Another member, Mr. Hassan Saleh, said he was completely disappointed by what he saw at the airport.
“It is a disaster waiting to happen. Security measures at that airport have collapsed. You could see that the security personnel are overwhelmed by the crowd.
“They no longer conduct full security checks because of the huge crowd.”
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that the state of affairs at the airport might have vindicated the decision of most foreign airlines not to use the Kaduna airport.
Gbajabiamila said, “If all the foreign airlines but one said they would not use Kaduna, was there something they knew that we did not know?
“If the airlines have chosen to lose money than fly into Kaduna, then there is a problem that we should be concerned about.”