Why This Airport Has to Fix Its Goats and Bandits Problem

Nigeria's Kaduna airport will temporarily accept all of Abuja airport's flights
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2017 3:47 PM CST
Why This Airport Has to Fix Its Goats and Bandits Problem
Kaduna airport officials have to keep the goats away.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Next time you feel like ranting about LaGuardia or LAX, take a moment to give thanks you're not flying into Nigeria over the next few weeks (unless you are, in which case … sorry). Starting March 8, the airport in Kaduna will be servicing all travelers who previously flew in and out of the airport in the country's capital, Abuja, as that facility undergoes renovations to fix huge potholes on the runway, the Wall Street Journal reports. But officials in charge of the Kaduna airport first have a few logistical challenges to deal with before all of the new flights are redirected there: namely, to stop cows from sleeping on the runway, keep safe the travelers heading from the airport into Abuja on a route known to be hit by bandits, and prevent local livestock from wandering onto the premises. "The goats have chewed some holes, but we're patching them up," Mohammed Sani, one of the airport's engineers, says.

The difference in flight loads between the two airports is stark: While Abuja saw more than 800 flights land in December, Kaduna handled only a dozen. Some international carriers, including Lufthansa and British Airways, are already balking at the rerouting and say they won't fly into Kaduna. But aircraft and law enforcement officials told Nigeria's Guardian last week that the airport is ready for the influx, complete with technology upgrades and security reinforcements. Sani, who's been tasked with helping to bring the Kaduna airport up to speed, is determined to overcome all of the formidable-sounding challenges. "We have no choice," he tells the Journal, adding, "I'm keeping a mattress here." (Check out the best and worst airports in the US.)

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