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Fashola, hundreds of passengers in dramatic air return from Abuja – The Nation

Power outage last night prevented aircraft from landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. A similar incident occurred barely a week ago.
It was learnt that Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola was among the passengers. There were also chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N) travelling to Abuja for a party’s meeting. They returned to Lagos.
It was gathered that Air Traffic Controllers stopped landing by any aircraft from about 6.30pm when visibility became poor due to the outage on the tarmac.
An aviation source, who spoke with our correspondent at about 10.15pm, said: “We had outage challenge again at the airport but our electrical engineers are trying to address it. The power situation is on and off.
“I think since 7pm, no aircraft has been able to land. We are only praying that there will be no emergency.
Another source at the airport said: “It is true we are having outage challenge at the tarmac and many aircraft could not land. As the situation improves, we are expecting a Lufthansa flight any moment from now.
“Technically, the outage has to do with Airfield Lighting. None of the AFL is working this night at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport. But we are trying to rectify it.
“The management of AFL was recently transferred to the National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the transition process is having some technical teething problems.”
Another source at the airport said: “Since last week, we sent Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) about the problem with Airfield Lighting in Abuja which might take three weeks to correct. So, all airlines were in the picture.
“Although NOTAM is expected to take effect from 11pm to 5am daily, the AFL had problem since 7pm on Tuesday.
“Outage is a general problem beyond our control. Although we have a dedicated power line. it has its own challenges.
“As I am talking to you, this Airport consumes about 33,000 litres of diesel per week. There is no way the Federal Airport Authority or any aviation agency could pass on the cost to passengers and other airport users.
“If we pass on the cost, there will be protest from passengers and other users

“Also, over dependence on generating set has its own technical implications.
But one of those stranded at the airport while awaiting some relations said: “This is embarrassing because even in war-torn countries, airports function optimally. This is shameful.”
When a key aide of the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, was contacted, he promised to get back but he never did.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji blamed the outage at the airport last Thursday on the malfunctioning of a generating set.
The minister gave the clarification after conducting an investigation into the outage when a British Airways flight from London was about to land.
The minister absolved the Abuja Electricity Power Distribution Company, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN of blame.
He said the power failure was not caused directly or indirectly by any of them, since there was electricity supply to the dedicated airport lines.
A statement by the minister’s aide, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, read: “The ministerial investigation into the power failure at the airport has shown that the incident arose from the failure or inability of the generators at the airport to produce power at the time the British Airways airliner was about to touch down.”

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