The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, confirmed Saturday’s early morning vibration at the terminal building of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
SaharaReporters had on Saturday reported that a massive vibration, which disrupted the processing of some passengers as early as 2 a.m. on Saturday, occurred at a portion of the departure hall of the terminal.
Mostly affected by the vibration were counters 37 to 41, which forced Royal Air Maroc to move its passengers’ processing to another part of the terminal that was not affected by the vibration, which lasted for several hours.
In a statement signed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Acting General Manager of Corporate Communications, Henrietta Yakubu, the aviation minister explained that the vibration came from the air handling room of the cooling system. He refuted claims that the vibration was caused by an earthquake, as some media had reported, or structural problems.
The doors of the cooling system, Mr. Sirika said, were unlatched, causing the vibration to be felt by the nearby Royal Air Maroc office and passengers in the room's vicinity.
“Well, first and foremost, it is wrong and erroneous to say that the structure of the Murtala Muhammed Airport is failing and there was an earthquake, as reported by some sections of the media. It is not so,” Mr. Sirika said.
“What happened is that there were vibrations at the air handling room of the cooling system. This door is a huge metal door that needs to be locked properly, and while it was locked, it wasn’t latched properly...that gave rise to the vibration because there are moving parts, there are motors and fans and other things that are activated and they function the motion to create the necessary cooling system.
“That door responded to the vibration and because it wasn’t latched, it was vibrating and that vibration was directly under the counter of Royal Air Maroc and they assumed the structure was vibrating to the point of collapse.
“Once our men were alerted, they went promptly, identified the problem, which was the door, and latched the door and since then there has been quiet.”
The minister further disclosed that the engineering department was working on the chillers too, stressing that soon the airport would be cooled and comfortable for air travelers.
On the issue of the power outage that was reported, Mr. Sirika confirmed that there was a power outage but said that critical parts of the airport were powered by generators, allowing the airport’s operations to run as planned.
“Indeed there was a power outage at the airport. However, we have dedicated generators to certain areas of the airport and those generators were working at the time we lost the power. The airfield lighting and taxiways were all working perfectly and most parts of the operational aspects of the airport, including the checking-in counter, were working perfectly.
“The terminal building where passengers found themselves were affected, but the outage did not get to the critical safety operations of the airport,” adding that power has since been restored.
“Things like this there are unforeseen; power surges are things we cannot predict, but we check that and prevent the surge from affecting us, but it depends on the surge.”
Mr. Sirika assured air travelers that the government is working on solutions to prevent future power outages.