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Flights diversion, congestion at Abuja Airport over runway incursion

Several flights were diverted from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja yesterday following a runway incursion involving an Aero Contractors aircraft on Sunday morning. The…

Several flights were diverted from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja yesterday following a runway incursion involving an Aero Contractors aircraft on Sunday morning.

The Lagos-Abuja flight operated by Aero Contractors landed at the airport and it was taxiing on Runway A4 when its nose wheel got stuck to the ground. The incident happened around 10:30 a.m.

However, there was no fatality or injury as passengers were safely disembarked from the aircraft while efforts were being made to remove the aircraft from the runway.

This led to the airport being temporarily shut down for hours for the aircraft to be removed while many flights were diverted out of the airport.

FAAN’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Abdullahi Funtua said flight operations resumed after the authority removed the aircraft from the runway.

“The aircraft landed safely, just to park to take a turn when one of the nose wheels slipped. All passengers were evacuated and the aircraft returned to the runway. All flight operations are taking place, there is no problem at all.”

An airline operator who spoke with our correspondent said the aircraft was removed after about three hours.

“Yes, they have cleared it but there is still traffic and congestion as I am talking to you and this is why we are experiencing delays across the country,” he said.

Aero Contractors in a statement stated that Flight NG 119 with a registered Boeing 737 aircraft 5N-BYQ from Lagos to Abuja had a total of 133 passengers on board.

The Managing Director of the airline, Capt. Ado Sanusi said: “We apologise for the inconveniences caused to our customers and other airport users. Our team with the assistance of the airport management have already towed the aircraft from the taxiway.

“We are equally cooperating with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the National Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) as they carry out their investigations.

Meanwhile, NSIB has commenced an investigation into the serious incident, which occurred around 10:47am (Local Time) on 12th November, 2023.

NSIB Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Dr. James Odaudu who confirmed the incident said, “The aircraft upon landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from Lagos and in a bid to exit the runway via A4 had its nose wheel stuck in the grass verge with its fuselage on the runway.

“Consequently, the runway was closed pending the towing of the aircraft from the runway. There was no injury or fatality.

“The NSIB, hereby, solicits information from the general public in the form of pictures, video or recording evidence to assist in conducting a comprehensive investigation.

“The NSIB will appreciate that the general public and press respect the privacy of the people on board and not assume the cause of the serious incident until a formal report is released.”

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