By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
The Federal Government on Wednesday said it had granted approval for the operation of private and commercial Helicopters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The airport was temporarily shut down last week by the government to allow for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the run-way and other facilities.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, n an interview with State House Correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja said the permission for helicopters operations at the airports was approved by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno.
He explained that the NSA had earlier sent out letters banning the operation of all airlines including helicopters at the airport until the repairs was completed.
He said: “The National Security Adviser has the constitutional responsibility vested on him by his excellency Mr President to advise the President on National security matters. Within his wisdom he had earlier on sent out letters banning the helicopters operation in the airport.
“But the National Security Adviser has earlier this morning approved that helicopters will of course continue to fly to Abuja airport from wherever.”
The minister added that the procedure that they will use to approach the airport under landing spot will be advised accordingly before the nightfall on Wednesday.
“This means that helicopters can come into Abuja and out bearing in mind that within the metropolitan city of Abuja there are no fly zones and this is very normal in every country.
“They have areas where there are no fly zones but the National Security Adviser this morning approved that helicopters should enter Abuja airport and out but the procedures in which helicopters should enter into Abuja and the spot which the helicopters will land will be advised in due course and it shall be before the end of today,” he added.
Further, the minister said that airline operations have been going on smoothly at the Kaduna international airport since the commencement of flights diversion to the state.
On the refusal of foreign airlines to land in kaduna, the minister said that “at least Ethiopian airlines are coming with brand new equipment the dream liner, the newest baby in the world of aviation, the Boeing 787 it’s fantastic, they landed in Kaduna.
“The London-Kaduna they were processed without a hitch, and of course we are still talking to other airlines to see reason and begin to come because they see that its possible, doable, safe and secure, its perfect condition and we are personally talking to other airlines within Nigeria to see the possibility of doing.
“I think within the next couple of days, we shall conclude and if it is possible we shall announce to Nigerians that there will be flight from Kaduna to London and back, we will be using the advantage of the gap created by British airways out of Abuja, that is going on, yesterday afternoon I was with the British high commission, I discussed with them for onward delivery to their own country, we are ready here we have the aircraft that we can deploy. The airline that we can use to go into London and back on daily basis, we shall keep you posted within the next couple of days,” Sirika added.