The delays witnessed by Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Dana Airlines, Ibom Air, Air Peace Airlines and others were caused by a seven-hour closure of the international runway for repairs.
This was disclosed by some officials of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), who preferred anonymity on Saturday.
According to them, the incident created pandemonium at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Saturday night as the closure of the runway for repairs later turned to a total closure of the Lagos airspace for several hours due to unexpected delays in the rehabilitation work on Runway 18R.
What the source is saying about the delays
She said, “The seven-hour closure of the Runway 18R (MMIA international wing’s runway) was meant to last for 7 hours (7am to 2pm) but took extra 4 and half hours due to unexpected delays in the repair works.
“We had to divert arriving and departing flights to the local runway (Runway 18L/36R). Unfortunately, the domestic runway where local and international flights had been diverted does not have lighting facilities for night landing of flights.”
She added that the development caused a temporary pandemonium among officials of FAAN and the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority.
Another source disclosed that Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) later issued a third Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)- an electronic message to pilots and the entire global aviation community-informing that the Lagos airspace had become closed till 11 pm.
He said, “The first and second NOTAM had informed pilots of the temporary closure of the runway of the international wing of the airport between 7am and 2pm, and subsequently between 2pm and 6:30pm.
“The situation forced pilots to divert some local and international flights to Abuja, Accra (Ghana) and other airports. For instance, a KLM flight from Amsterdam coming to land at the Lagos airport around 7pm was diverted to the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana.
“Some flights (Air Peace, Dana, Max Air and Ibom Air, among others) meant to depart Abuja, Ilorin, Benin, Port Harcourt and other airports across the country in the late evening were delayed until around 10pm when the Lagos airspace was eventually opened.”
According to him, international flights meant to depart Lagos between 7pm and 9pm were hit by several hours of delays, with some of the pilots complaining that their passengers would miss their connecting flights.
For instance, Dubai-bound Emirates Airlines, Instanbul-bound Turkish Airlines and Doha-bound Qatar Airways, meant to depart between 7pm and 8pm did not depart until around 10pm when the Lagos airspace was opened.
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