Just a few days after the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja for maintenance works and routing of flights to the Kaduna Airport, traders, transporters and others having businesses to do with air transportation in Abuja have been counting their losses as a result of the shut- down, while their colleagues in Kaduna are smiling to the banks already, due to booming business.
For many businesses operating small shops, airline operators, hoteliers and business owners in and around the Abuja airport premises, the six weeks closure is tantamount to six weeks without any income.
In reaction to concerns raised by stakeholders on the economic loss to the country, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, admitted that many stakeholders, would be out of business for the period of six weeks, including hoteliers, car hire operators and others rendering sundry services. He appealed to them to see the period as their own way of rendering Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the country.
At Kaduna, the reverse is the case, as business activities have sprang up and is booming, even as life returns to the airport community that has experienced a lull in the past years.
Despite the skepticism of some airliners regarding security and standard of facilities on ground, within the few days of operations, several people are now counting the gains of the diversion of flight operations to Kaduna, just as the security situation has improved at the airport and Kaduna metropolis.
Although construction workers at the airport are still putting last minute touches to the terminal wing of the airport and other places, flight operations are going on, as international and domestic airlines were seen taking off and landing.
Taxi operators are already counting their blessings as a result of an increase in patronage since the diversion of flights to airport.
Aliyu Kasim said: “Business has changed and we can work (pick passengers) conveniently now. We even get passengers with ease and all drivers are happy.”
To Balarabe Shuaib: “We enjoy our work. Before, we can spend two days here without getting even one passenger. But now, even the highway is busy since the diversion started some days back.
“You can see checkpoints around. Everywhere is secure and business is going fine.”