June 13th, 2012
NewsRescue– Following a Dana Air flight June 3 crashed in Lagos, killing all 153 people on board and over 10 on the ground, the Nigerian government ha shut down Air Nigeria, the nations largest airline.
The temporary grounding of the airline was effected after a strike action by airline operatives and engineers, which has been called off.
It is anticipated that the airline will resume operation this Thursday if all security checks are a go.
Nigerian travelers are experiencing severe frustrations with two of the Nations largest airlines off air. Dana airline operated several flight routes, including up to 10 daily to and from Abuja, the route of the faithful accident.
Several passengers who bought Air Nigeria tickets are stranded in and outside the nation.
Close Abuja Airport- Airline operatives
Meanwhile Air operatives have pleaded strongly that the Abuja airport be shut down till maintenance is concluded, due to flight security hazards. According to the NationalDaily:
Airline operators in the country have called on the Federal Government to refrain from jeopardising the growing status of the aviation industry as well as the lives of the citizenry.
Speaking through the Secretary General of the Airports Operators Associaton Muhammed Tukur, they decried the state of the nation’s airports, saying they were becoming dangerous and incapable of accommodating the growing traffic. The operators, who also lamented incessant blackouts at Abuja airport, which resulted in diversion of international flights last weekend to Lagos and Malabo, called for immediate construction of a second runway at the airport to accommodate the growing traffic.
Similarly, they said, “it would be better to shut down the airport rather than endanger the lives of the people”.
For instance, they said, “the ongoing maintenance at the airport led to the shortening of the runway from its original 3,600 metres to 3,200 metres and, just last week, 2,200; a situation that makes it not too long enough for wide-body aircraft like the B747, A340, A330 and B777.”.
Corroborating Tukur’s claims, one of the operators of foreign airlines said “a Lufthansa aircraft with passengers could not land on Friday and decided to land in another airport following the blackout at the Abuja airport and the shortening of the runway.
“The inability of most of them to pick their passengers gave them no option than to lodge them in hotels in Abuja and Frankfurt because of the dislocation it caused to their passengers.
“Those who were trying to connect their flights from all over the world on the Frankfurt-Abuja-Frankfurt flights also suffered considerably, while the carriers had to cough out additional costs on accommodation for passengers.”
Tukur explained that the operators, including foreign carriers, were worried over the loss being incurred.
He said there was no issuance of Notice to Air Men (NOTAM) to inform them of the terrible situation of the runway.
“We are worried that both international airlines and domestic airlines are losing money. If care is not taken, they will end up crashing planes. The agencies.should not jeopardise the lives of people,” he said
The Abuja airport has been disconnected from supply by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and runs 24 hours on generator, making it susceptible to blackouts, three of which have already been reported in the first half of the year.