Against the backdrop of incessant power outages at Abuja airport, which resulted into the diversion of international flights at the weekend to Lagos and Malabo, airline operators yesterday called for immediate construction of a second runway at the airport to accommodate the growing traffic.
The airline operators, who spoke through Muhammed Tukur, its secretary general, who also lamented the situation of runway light-out at the airport, also asked Federal Government to shut the airport rather than “endangering the lives of the people.”
The ongoing maintenance at the airport, according to the operators, has led to the shortening of the runway from its original 3, 600 metres to 3, 200 metres, and just last week further reduced to 2, 200 - a situation that makes it not too long enough for wide-body aircraft like the B747, A340, A330 and B777.
Speaking with BusinessDay, Tukur said internationally, when airports or an important place at the airport was undergoing repairs, as claimed by the Federal Government, the airport should be shut down, especially in the case of a runway.
One of the operators of a foreign airline said that a Lufthansa aircraft with passengers could not land on Friday and decided to land in another airport following the power outage at the airport coupled with the shortening of the runway.
The inability of most of them to pick their passengers gave them no option than to lodge them in hotels in Abuja and Frankfurt, because of the dislocation it caused to their passengers.
For those who were trying to connect their flights from all over the world on the Frankfurt-Abuja-Frankfurt flights also suffered considerably, while the carriers had to cough out additional costs on accommodation for passengers.
Tukur explained that the operators, including foreign carriers, were worried over the loss incurred, warning, “If care is not taken, they will end up crashing planes, saying there was no issuance of Notice to Air Men (NOTAM) to inform them of the terrible situation of the runway as a result of the ongoing repairs.
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Naija government when are you going to stop embarrassing us?.?.?