The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has reopened the runway of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State, a day after it was closed following an accident involving an Air Peace Boeing 737 aircraft.
General Manager, Corporate Affairs for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a statement said the agency had successfully cleared the spoilt aircraft from the airport runway to allow for the commencement of normal flight operations.
Said Yakubu: “Following a skidding incident yesterday (Saturday) involving an Air Peace flight with registration number 5N BRN, flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt, the Port Harcourt International Airport runway has been cleared and the airport is now reopened for normal flight operations.
“The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has issued a Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) to that effect in line with standards and recommended practice,” Yakubu added.
The incident had left hundreds of passengers on domestic and international flights stranded (Saturday to Sunday) at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State as the airport runway remained closed against traffic following the delay in removing a damaged Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Air Peace Airline which skidded off the runway while landing at about 3pm on Saturday.
The incident occurred during a heavy downpour at the airport while the aircraft had descended into the runway for final landing.
Our correspondent learnt that both the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) had issued a force majeure to airlines, better referred to in aviation sector as Notice to Air Men (NOTAM ), informing of the inability to use the airport for flight operations.
Worst hit were passengers on the Lufthansa Airlines of Germany and Air France/KLM which had to cancel their Saturday and Sunday flights to Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam with some of the intending passengers lodged in hotels for the two days.
“Lufthansa cancelled the flight on the Saturday June, 22, with their customers lodged in the hotel; it has also cancelled today’s flight (Sunday, June 23) due to airport closure,” said San Adewala, a senior official of the airline s on Sunday.
Some local airlines, however, had to divert their flights to the Port Harcourt Air Force Base while the airport remained closed.