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Runway lights collapse at Lagos airport, international flights diverted, rescheduled

Some parts of the runway lights at the nation’s flagship airport, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos has collapsed, forcing British Airways to divert its flight to the Abuja airport on Thursday.

The development forced the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation industry regulator, to downgrade the landing procedure at the Lagos airport from Category Two to Category One.

BA passengers whose flight was diverted to the Federal Capital Territory were forced to pass a night in Abuja before being flown back to Lagos on Friday afternoon by the British airline.

The unserviceable state of the runway lights made it impossible for BA, which flies a large plane, to land at the Lagos airport in the night. Other foreign airlines with relatively smaller planes can land.

It was learnt that touchdown light at the runway of the international wing of the Lagos airport became bad. As such, bigger planes could not land in the night.

BA was forced to reschedule all its flight out of London to enable it to land at Lagos airport in the afternoon, instead of late evening.

The Director-General, NCAA, Capt Nuhu Musa, confirmed the development. He said the decision was taken for safety reason.

He however said that FAAN had fixed the lights but there was a need for the NCAA inspectors to check the lights before an approval could be given for the runway approach lights to be upgraded  to Category Two.

Notice to Airmen, a notice to pilots and flying community about flight facilities, seen by our correspondent, showed that the landing approach  system at the airport had been downgraded to Cat One.

Other foreign airlines with relatively smaller planes could land. AirFrance and international airlines however landed.

FAAN spokesperson, Mrs Henrieta Yakubu, confirmed the development but also confirmed it had been rectified.

However, a new NOTAM has yet to be issued as of the time of filing this report.The NCAA DG said a new NOTAM would not be issued until Monday after the agency’s inspectors would have inspected the situation.

Meanwhile, the development has made BA passengers in London to groan over the situation.

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