Anambra airport joins 15 others with inoperable runway lights –
Just six months after the inauguration of the new $2 billion Anambra International Cargo/Passenger Airport, the airfield has joined the list of 15 other airports with inoperable runway lights.
BusinessDay investigations show that the lights at Anambra Airport are currently unusable, preventing airlines from landing and taking off at any time after 6 p.m.
Of the 22 airports managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), only the airports of Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin, Enugu, Kano and Kaduna have airfield lighting for allow flights to land and take off at or after 6:30 p.m. while others are referred to as “Day Light” airports.
Lagos, Maiduguri, Calabar, Owerri, Jos, Sokoto, Yola, Minna, Ibadan, Akure, Makurdi, Katsina, Ilorin, Zaria and Osubi airports also do not have airfield lights for night operations.
Airline operators have notably complained that the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, located in Nigeria’s commercial capital, does not have airfield lighting for night flights, thus forcing airlines to land at the international terminal and then to drive for 20 to 30 minutes to the domestic terminal to disembark passengers. .
Airline operators have continued to lament the loss of billions of naira every year due to the absence of runway lights at the majority of Nigerian airports, preventing them from landing or operating at airports at night.
Airline operators have said that when planes develop technical problems or there is a weather problem that forces airlines to operate late, flight time to those airports can be delayed, which means outright cancellations. simple since the airlines cannot operate in these airports at a certain time.
Passengers on board Air Peace airline P47336 were on Saturday April 30, reportedly returned to Lagos 15 minutes to land at Anambra Airport located at Umueri in Anambra East Local Government Area.
The return air is said to be due to the darkness that has engulfed the airport.
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According to the pilot, the runway was dark at 6 p.m., making the landing unsafe for the aircraft.
An Air Peace source who confirmed the development said his plane could not land at the Anambra State airport as the runway lights were not operational at the time. The plane had to fly back to Lagos and was rescheduled for a morning flight
Obiora Okonkwo, Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, lamented that one of the main challenges of the daytime airport is that it forces airlines to limit their operations at these airports to 6:30 p.m.
Okonkwo said that no airline likes to delay or cancel flights, but the inability to land and take off from these airports at or after 6:30 p.m. results in huge revenue for airlines as they have to cancel flights. flights more frequently.
“About 80% of Nigerian airports are day airports. This timing regime puts a lot of pressure on our operations and schedule, as you need to plan ahead to ensure you start your business and finish it before the sun goes down. You may not believe that all the local airports here in Lagos are in sunset operation, this needs to be looked into.
“There has to be a proper extension, those airports are there and if you don’t have the facilities to operate until a certain time like 11pm-12pm and that costs the operators huge sums of money. If the airlines airlines operate until 11 p.m. or 12 p.m., they will be free to stagger flight intervals and this will increase punctuality and customer confidence,” he said.