SAA cancelled flights for six weeks, as repairs to the runway began on Wednesday. This follows an incident last August when one of its planes was damaged after landing there.
South African Airways (SAA) and a number of other airlines have cancelled flights to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Nigerian capital Abuja due to the dangers posed by the state of disrepair of the runway.
According to the Nigerian authorities the damage to the runway is so extensive that repairs can’t be undertaken at night.
SAA joins British Airways, KLM and Air France in rejecting a Nigerian government proposal to divert flights to northern Kaduna city and take passengers by bus on a journey of about 250km to Abuja, the BBC reported on Wednesday.
The reason behind declining the offer was that it included an extra three-and-a-half-hours of travel time and on a road notorious for accidents and kidnappings.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said that SAA regreted any inconvenience to SAA customers.
“As a network carrier, we considered an option to fly elsewhere in Nigeria during the repair works. However, such an option did not prove viable for us given its implications on our network as it would impact on aircraft availability and connectivity for our passengers,” Tlali said.
SA 088 from Johannesburg (JNB) to Abuja (ABV) and SA 089 from Abuja (ABV) to Johannesburg (JNB) were two of the affected flights.