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Stakeholders express worry over outages at Lagos airport

Stakeholders in the aviation sector have called for an end to frequent power outages at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. It would be…

Stakeholders in the aviation sector have called for an end to frequent power outages at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

It would be recalled that there was an outrage last Friday when the MMIA experienced a power outage. Thereafter, a video of the terminal in darkness trended on social media, with passengers lighting the terminal with their mobile phones.

Daily Trust reports that this was not the first time there would be power outage at the airport, the busiest in Nigeria.

Before the Friday outage; outage was last experienced on April 1, 2022, disrupting flight operations which left hundreds of passengers stranded.

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The outage at the time was as a result of a heavy rainfall from the late hours of Friday up to the early hours of Saturday, April 1, 2022.

In November, 2018, a similar incident was experienced, with the then Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engr Saleh Dunoma, blaming the incident on the various construction works going on at the airport.

The latest outage generated outcry among passengers and aviation stakeholders who decried the frequent power outages at Nigeria’s number one port of entry.

Confirming the incident, FAAN, in a statement posted on its X (formerly Twitter) handle, explained that the outage was not for more than three minutes.

The statement reads in part: “We experienced a two to three minutes outage at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport yesterday, February 2, 2024, while switching over to our back up power supply after losing power from the grid.

“The electrical team has identified the challenges with the automatic switch over and is working judiciously to restore this immediately. We have put a plan in place leveraging the alternative sources of power to ensure we do not have a recurrence.”

But speaking with our correspondent, a former Commandant of the MMIA, Group Capt John Ojikutu (Rtd), said there must be consequences for flight disruptions caused by power supply failure.

He said, “Let there be consequences on the service providers. Let the services pay due compensation to those whose operations are disrupted. Let the NCAA enforce regulations on the critical service providers, especially on power supply.”

He continued: “That is one major reason why FAAN cannot remain the provider of the major services for all the operators. Concession all the non-aeronautical services at the airports and return the aeronautical services to NAMA. Make FAAN a holding company on the concessioned facilities: passenger and cargo terminals, carparks, tollgates, land areas, power supply, etc. Runways, taxiways and their associated lighting should go to the aerodrome control (NAMA).”

On his part, aviation management consultant, Mr Babatunde Adeniji, tasked the federal government to prioritise fixing simple infrastructure like regular power supply at the airports.

He said, “Without knowing the root cause, it’s not possible to know how to stem it, but we should demand a resolution from FAAN and better performance going forward.”

 

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