South African Airways cancels flights in Abuja runway repair

South African Airways is canceling flights to Nigeria's capital, Abuja, during six weeks of scheduled repairs to the international airport's runway starting March 8.

It joins other international airlines refusing a government proposal to divert flights to northern Kaduna city and bus passengers the 250 kilometers (155 miles) south to Abuja — a three-and-a-half-hour ride on a road notorious for accidents and kidnappings.

Officials say repairs cannot be carried out at night because the runway of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is in shocking disrepair.

A South African Airways plane was damaged on landing there in August. Other airlines have called it dangerous.

British Airways, KLM and Air France have temporarily canceled flights to Abuja. Flights to Lagos, Nigeria's commercial hub, continue.

Lack of maintenance affects infrastructure across Nigeria.