Lagos airport runway shutdown mustn’t exceed eight weeks – Stakeholders

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria have been advised by some stakeholders to stick with the eight weeks period that have been scheduled for the maintenance of the Runway 18R and 36L of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

This followed the announcement on Monday on the shut of the Lagos airport runways for maintenance purposes.

These two Runways, 18R and 36L have over the years been specifically dedicated for international flights.

The Punch reported that the Federal Government has diverted international flights to Runway 18L and 36R located at the domestic wing of the Lagos airport.

In a statement issued by the Authority on Monday,
FAAN said that Taxiway B-18L would be used instead for all flight operations until the completion of all maintenance.

Following this development, it was reported that some stakeholders have expressed their views on the decision of the FAAN that will affect international flight for the next two months.

The President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, Kingsley Nwokoma, said, “If you go into the history of runway closures, there’s never been a time we have two runways running concurrently for a long time.

“FAAN recently worked on one and we had assumed we had a lasting solution but now we’re back to square one. Of course, if you don’t have two runways working concurrently, traffic will be affected as usual; there will be a lot of boarding as both international and local flights will be on the same runway.

He therefore advised that the government stick with its eight-week plans for maintenance and he hopes the measure would provide a lasting solution for the two runways to be used concurrently.

Speaking to The Punch, an industry expert and former Director of General Aviation at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Ayodele Sasegbon, commended the move of the FAAN and stated that the FG keeps to the scheduled maintenance period.

He hopes FAAN has improved its management of the “makeshift” runway after closing it last year to fix the airfield lighting.

In the words of an aviation expert, Capt. James Daniel, “If FAAN is closing down the international runway which is slightly longer, I believe the other runway is of sufficient length to accommodate bigger aircraft.

“I don’t see that having a major impact. Obviously, there will be delays in flights because of the extra number of aircraft flying off the other runway so it would obviously increase delays. The primary issue is the delay it will create from the traffic congestion.”

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