Nigeria has closed its main airport in the capital, Abuja, for six weeks to allow badly needed repairs to be carried out. It comes after airlines threatened to stop flying there because of safety concerns over the state of the runway.  From now, those wishing to travel to Abuja are being encouraged to instead fly to the northern city of Kaduna, 190km (120 miles) away. But all but one international airline has refused to fly there. Ethiopian Airlines is currently the only company offering international flights to Kaduna, which has been hit recently by a spate of kidnappings. The government has set up a dedicated Abuja Airport Closure website, where passengers can book free bus tickets for the two-hour journey by road. “The runway has deteriorated to such an extent that it requires complete reconstruction,” the government said. “This cannot be done at night. Furthermore, the runway has been maintained mostly through closure at night in the past several years, but is has reached a state where that method will not work anymore.” All domestic flights are being rerouted to Kaduna, a small regional airport. The shuttle bus to Abuja will take two hours on a good day, more with traffic. Like most Nigerian roads it is bumpy but the government has undertaken some repairs on it in preparation for the airport commuters. On the international front however there are not many options.  Most international airlines said they were worried about security. Some also expressed concern that the equipment at Kaduna airport was not of a high enough standard. Henrietta Yakubu from the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that plans had been put in place to protect passengers and to transfer them in luxury buses. “The police boss has assured members of the public that for each luxury bus on the highway, there wills a police patrol vehicle on the front and behind,” she said.

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