FOREIGN airlines flying into Nigeria have expressed concern about the flooding of the runway at Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos whenever it rains adding that it is both dangerous and costly.
Speaking under the aegis of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives (AFARN), the carriers have called on the aviation authorities to address the problem as the flooding constitutes a safety hazard to the flying public. They added that it has also led to a loss of revenue, as aircrafts need to hover in the air until the rain subsides or be diverted to neighbouring countries to refuel.
Kingsley Nwokoma, president of AFARN, said: “Whenever it rains, there is always flooding of the airport runway. Whenever the runway is flooded by rain, some aircraft find it difficult to land. Whenever the rain persists and they cannot land, they fly to neighbouring countries, especially Accra in Ghana to land.
“After landing there, they try to refuel and then come back to land in Lagos. This costs a lot of money as revenues are lost arising from flights delays and extra fuel. This affects passengers too because some of them have connections to make on local airlines.”
However, Akin Olukunle, the general manager, public affairs, of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria denied that the runway was being flooded. He said there was no such problem at the airport runway.
Yinka Ayodotun, the AFARN vice president, added: “If you have a waterlogged runway, then an aircraft cannot land in that condition. The safety aspect of this is very significant. We cannot stop rain from falling but we can device a means of draining the runway immediately.”