Foreign airlines operating in the nation’s airports will incur additional costs while passengers would experience flight delays as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has shut down international runways, 18R and 36L, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos for two months for repairs.
LEADERSHIP reports that FAAN, in a statement yesterday, said that the runway Taxiway B-18L will be used instead for all flight operations until the maintenance is done.
However, aviation experts have said that the repair would lead to increased cost for airlines as they will burn more aviation fuel and cause flight delays for passengers.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, an engineer with the International Aviation College, Kwara State, Engr. Ahmadu Hadi, said take-off and landing will be done by all airlines on the alternative runway.
According to him, Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) would be released to traffic controllers and other necessary stakeholders in the sector for safety.
He said, “Airlines will be moved to the alternative runway and every operation will now be done on the alternative runway until they conclude the repair work. There will be delays in operation of airlines because there will be more frequencies and more airlines will be making use of the alternative runway.”
He continued, “It will take longer for another flight to take off because there will be more frequencies and there will be delay in take-off because more airlines will now take off and land on the same runway,” he stated.
Corroborating Ahmadu’s stance, the chief executive officer, Aglow Aviation, Tayo Ojuri, said eight weeks is a long time, especially with the onset of summer and rainy seasons.
He stated further that a runway that was earlier used for lesser flights, would now take a higher number of flights due to the repair of the runway.
“Obviously, it will cause delays because the taxi time will likely increase and they will burn more aviation fuel. When they land, we need to know where they will land, reduce their speed and turn back to the terminal. Yes, they will burn more fuel and cause delays but we need to as well see the chart to give an objective opinion,” Ojuri stated.
He said further, “Eight weeks is a long time; now that we are running into the summer and rainy season. What used to take, for instance, 10 flights will take all international flights coming into Lagos, so naturally that gives to that saying that there will be delay and cost incurred.”
LEADERSHIP recalls that earlier in the year, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) shut down the same international runway for a few hours for maintenance.
It would be recalled that late last year, night operations returned to the second runway of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, otherwise known as runway 18L, 18 years after night operations were last carried out on the facility.
In August last year, FAAN shut the facility to all flight operations for the installation of the category three Airfield Ground Lighting system on the runway, allowing all flight operations to use runway 18/Right usually used by international airlines.
According to FAAN, this was part of the efforts aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of flight operations at the Murtala Muhammed Airport.
The airport is central to the operations of all domestic carriers. Daily operations begin and end in Lagos for most aircraft.