Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Passengers Stranded As Abuja Airport Shut -PM News, Lagos
As frantic efforts are on to clear the runway of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja which was blocked on Wednesday line by a cargo plane belonging to Saudi Airline.
The blockage of the runway by cargo plane which was involved in an accident while landing yesterday has disrupted flights into the airport, and left thousands of passengers stranded across the country.
Though local flights are taking off from the Airport,authorities have barred international flights and flights from other local airports from flying into Abuja, in what Yakubu Dati, spokesperson for Federal Airport Authority, FAAN said is a precautionary measure by authorities to ensure safety of the flying public.
P.M. NEWS learnt that following the incident, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency issued a Notice To Airmen on Thursday morning indicating that the airport had been closed to both incoming and outbound planes.
P.M. NEWS gathered that London bound passengers on British Airways, which were to leave early this morning are still waiting at the airport as at the time of filing in this report.
Only domestic flights out of Abuja are allowed to fly out of Nnamdi Azikwe Airport.
However,thousands of passengers coming to Abuja are stranded at different airports in the country as flights to Abuja are not being allowed to take off.
P.M. NEWS gathered that the situation has led to rowdy scenes among stranded passengers in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Kano among others.
It was also gathered that international flights coming into the Airport are being diverted to Lagos.
A British Airways flight scheduled to land in the Airport early this morning was diverted to Lagos.
“What we are trying to do now to ensure safety which is paramount in all we do is that we have suspended all flights coming to Abuja until we evacuate the aircraft,” Dati said while confirming the incident.
“Even as at yesterday, flights are still coming to Abuja, but we just have to be extra careful before we allow flights to continue,” he added
Dati also said officials of Accident Investigation Bureau are already investing the incident, while officials of FAAN and NAMA are coordinating the evacuation of the aircraft.
He added that the aircraft will be evacuated within few hours so that flight into Abuja can continue.
PM NEWS learnt that the incident involving the cargo plane happened around 10 pm on Wednesday night.
PM NEWS learnt that the Saudi Arabian cargo plane overrun the runway in Abuja and ran into a maintenance area of the airport as it was landing.
The Boeing 747 cargo aircraft was also reported to have burst into flames but fire was promptly put out at the airport.
“A Saudi Arabian B747 cargo aircraft landed safely in Abuja this night but finished the maneuvering area of the runway and ran into a maintenance area of the runway and stopped. There are no casualties. Plans are on to move the air craft after the AIB’s visit soon,” Joe Obi, the spokesperson of Nigeria’s ministry of aviation said while confirming the incident.
He however added that the plane landed safely.