Ahmed Gulsen, Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, has promised toconvince the management of Turkish airlines to fly to Kaduna airport during the six weeks that flights would be diverted from Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport, Abuja.
According to NAN, the ambassador made the promise when he received Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, in his office.
Gulsen said the Turkish government was committed to an unflinching and continued partnership with its Nigerian counterpart in the development of its aviation industry.
He also said the decision of the Turkish airlines not to fly to Kaduna was based on issues of security and readiness of the airport to handle international flights.
However, he accepted the minister’s invitation to visit the Kaduna airport for on-the-spot assessment to be able to give informed advice to the airline on operating to and from Kaduna.
“The partnership between Turkey and Nigeria is very strategic and therefore at this point of need by Nigeria, Turkey should be ready to assist,” he said.
“As the ambassador representing Turkey in Nigeria, I should be able to convince my government and operators of the Turkish Airlines to fly Kaduna.
“I agree with you that the Abuja runway needs to be repaired and that the closure is necessary; I will talk to the CEO of the airline to convince them to fly Kaduna during this period.
“Though it is their private business, but they should be able to trust my judgment as their representative in Nigeria.”
Sirika assured airline operators in Nigeria that the Kaduna airport is secure with standard facilities and better positioned to facilitate movement of passengers.
He assured operators of government’s openness and preparedness to work with all serious minded and sincere operators.
According to him, the position of Nigeria in the African sub-region is highly strategic and business oriented and taking advantage of its size and geographical location guarantees adequate return on investment over time.
“We welcome the interest of the Turkish government and Turkish firms in Nigeria’s aviation industry and the federal government is taking a giant step to strengthen the partnership,” he said
Before now, a number of foreign airlines announced that they would not use Kaduna airport; among them are Luftahansa, South African Airways, British Airways