Lagos Airport to end 13 years airfield blackout

All things being equal, the waiting game will soon be over for airfield lighting and night operations for Runway 18L at the busy Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.

It was learnt that a fresh move to end the blackout has commenced with the award of a fresh contract to install the critical facility in about six months.

The Runway 18L that services the local airport was rehabilitated in 2008 but without provision for airfield lighting. The contract for the expansion and resurfacing of the local airport runway was awarded to P.W. Nigeria Limited at N3.56 billion.

In the last 13 years, operators have described the local airport as an “operational nightmare”, especially during nightfall or bad weather.

Scheduled carriers recently told The Guardian that though they had managed to cover up the sheer lapses for years, emerging demands in schedule reliability have made infrastructure-induced delays and losses unbearable.

Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, recently at the inspection of the Lagos Airport, said the 18L runway has been delayed because of an existing contract that has been an impediment for many years.

Given the prime position of the facility, operators had regretted that the domestic runway has abysmally short flight hours daily, and is readily shut at sunset.

At nightfall (from 6:00p.m), all Lagos-bound domestic carriers are diverted to the international section (18R), and made to taxi about four kilometres back to the domestic terminal, which costs extra fuel and flight disruptions.

Yadudu said besides the runway that needed attention, taxiway Bravo had been yearning for repairs until lately.

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