Blackout delays Medview aircraft’s landing at Abuja airport

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Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

Panic gripped passengers on a Medview Airlines flight coming from Lagos to Abuja on Tuesday as the plane could not land immediately due to outage at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The aircraft hovered in the air for about 10 extra minutes after the pilot announced that the plane was unable to land at the airport.

Passengers on the flight claimed that the pilot could not land the plane at 6:30pm, its scheduled arrival time, due to a shutdown of the runway lights.

However, Abuja airport officials claimed that the runway lights were not affected, insisting that only the taxiway lights were turned off temporarily.

“The pilot announced that the runway lights were not working and that he had to wait a little. The plane hovered for about 10 minutes before it was cleared to land,” a passenger who simply gave his name as Sam told our correspondent.

“I asked one of the crew members who also confirmed that the runway lights went out of service temporarily,” he added

Another passenger said, “When the plane was about to land, the pilot told us that the lights were not working and so we hovered in the air for some minutes and this created panic in the passenger cabin. It was a Medview Airlines flight and this happened around 6:30pm this (Tuesday) evening.”

When contacted, the spokesperson for the NAIA, Mrs. Voke Ivbaze, told our correspondent that the runway lights never went off.

She said, “I made enquiries as soon as I got your request for information on the matter and I can tell you that actually what happened was just the regular change-over.

“Towards evenings like this, the light is changed over to generator so that there won’t be any problem.

“But it was not the runway light that was even affected because that one would have given us more concern. The runway lights were on, it was the taxiway lights; and the taxi way does not affect the landing of any aircraft. The regular change-over is for the safety of passengers and everyone onboard.

“We don’t want a situation where there will be power outage during the landing of an aircraft, so usually we change to generators until the last flight in the night lands. The runway lights were not affected; in fact we confirmed from the control tower and it was only the taxiway lights that were offered briefly and they came back on.”

When asked if pilots were often asked to hover in the sky whenever taxiway lights were switched off, she replied, “No, they are not supposed to hold on or hover like you said, because it does not affect their landing at all. It does not affect their flight activities and it didn’t affect Medview landing today.”

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