by Tolu Orekoya
Yesterday evening, an Arik Air flight travelling to Abuja to Port Harcourt had to turn around and head back to Port Harcourt after the runway landing lights at Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport did not come on. International flights heading into the city also had to be re-routed, forcing Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France flight to land in Lagos, where passengers were offered accommodation for the night.
Leadership newspaper reported that the runway was being refurbished, but the firm hired was unable to complete the job causing the runway blackout. This would be the third time this year alone, that the airport’s runway lights have failed.
In the wake of the July 3 plane crash that killed 153 passengers on the Dana Air flight 9J-992 flying from Abuja to Lagos, and killed even more on the ground, a glaring spotlight has been forced onto the aviation industry, and what Nigerians see is not pretty. In the past week, there has been another incident with a plane trying to land successfully.
On June 6, a flight trying to land at the Uyo Airport in Akwa Ibom State missed the runway and had to go around, before making a successful landing on its second try.
Dana’s license has been suspended, pending a review of the company, and the Federal Government is planning a probe of the industry and its practices.