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FAAN reopens Lagos int’l runway after 11 months

Relief came the way of airline operators on Sunday as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) reopened the runway 18R 36L of the Murtala…

Relief came the way of airline operators on Sunday as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) reopened the runway 18R 36L of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The runway which serves international flights was shut down in March 2023 for five weeks for routine maintenance.

In the course of the maintenance, the airfield lighting (AFL) at the runway was stolen making the runway unserviceable.

It was shut for almost a year causing inconveniences to airlines as international flights take off and land at the alternative runway 18L 36R which is shorter in length and used to serve only domestic flights.

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During the period of the shutdown, many foreign airlines using wide-bodied Jumbo jets were forced to reduce their passenger and cargo load to manage to take off.

The Managing Director of FAAN, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku, stated last month that there was some delay with the reopening of the runway and promised it would be reopened soon.

She said: “The 18R runway, we did have some delays actually; coming onboard, we have asked the contractors to return to site immediately and we also engaged the AON and informed them of our plans to reopen the runway because we will be opening. We have coordinated and engaged with NAMA as well as NCAA of our plans to actually open that runway.

“So, we should expect it to be re-opened very soon. This is planned for the next few weeks. We are keeping our fingers crossed. I know that our stakeholders have been written, we are working very closely together to reopen it. Expect that it won’t be as long as you have waited. I do understand that the initial plans for that runway were six weeks. We will do our best.”

The reopening of the runway however became a reality on Saturday, ending the 11-month woe of foreign airlines.

Our correspondent learnt that a notice to airmen (NOTAM) was issued to that effect.

As of the time of filing this report, international flights like Delta, Kenya Airways, among others had taken off from the runway.

When contacted, the Regional Manager, South West, FAAN and MMIA Manager, Mr. Ayodele Sunday, confirmed the reopening of the runway and said flight operations had started immediately from the runway.

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