by Bosede Olusola-Obasa and Oyetunji Abioye


There was pandemonium at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Friday night as a blackout on the runway forced international and local airlines to cancel their scheduled flights.

The development forced officials to divert inbound flights to land in other airports like Malabo, Equatorial Guinea and Port Harcourt.

Our correspondents gathered that departing passengers who had been checked in were later dispersed and asked to come back on Saturday.

It was learnt that aircraft could not land or take off on Friday night because of the blackout.

SATURDAY PUNCH learnt that Lufthansa and some domestic airlines had to disperse their passengers, who had already boarded.

“I’m supposed to travel out of the country tonight, but after much delay, we were sold that there were some operational problems that would prevent the scheduled flight,” a Geneva-bound passenger on a Lufthansa flight said.

Another inbound domestic flight was diverted to Port Harcourt owing to the development.

The General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Mr. Supo Atobatele, was not available for comments. Calls put through to his line did not go through.

The General Manager, Public Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr Akin Olukunle, did not also pick his calls.

The government owned Nigeria Television Authority however said repairs were being carried out on the runway lights.

There had been occasions when night flights had to be cancelled abruptly. The government had a few months ago stopped night flights to fix the problem.


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