The approach lights on the runway of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, have gone off, forcing pilots to depend solely on equipment onboard their aircraft to land, findings by The PUNCH have revealed.
An approach lighting system is a lighting system installed on the approach end of an airport runway and consisting of a series of light-bars, strobe lights, or a combination of the two that extends outward from the runway end, according to Wikipedia. It is a lighting system that assists the pilot/aircraft to come in and land safely.
Impeccable airport sources said the approach lights collapsed on Monday evening and pilots were subsequently forced to rely solely on their onboard equipment to land airplanes.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the matter, said it was sad that the relevant aviation authorities did not issue a Notice to Airmen on the development until later on Tuesday.
A copy of the NOTAM which was sighted by The PUNCH showed that the document was issued by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s Aeronautical Information Services department.
The NOTAM, dated May 31, 2022, was signed by one Abah G.N, an official of the airspace agency.
As of 10:30pm on Tuesday, it was uncertain when the problem would be fixed.
The Acting General Manager, Public Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, asked our correspondent to send a text message when she was contacted on the development.
A response to the text message sent by The PUNCH to her was still being expected as of the time of filing this report.
A pilot with one of the domestic airlines, who chose to speak on condition of anonymity on the matter, said the collapse of the approach light could inhibit pilots’ capability to land airplanes safely in bad weather.
According to him, the approach lights assist pilots in landing on the runway.
“It is sad that the relevant authorities are just issuing NOTAM on the development over 24 hours after the light collapsed. That is very dangerous. This is very annoying,” the pilot said.
A pilot and President, National Association of Private Aircraft Owners, Mr Alex Nwuba, said there was no reason to panick over the development but stressed that there an urgent need for the authorities to fix the lights as soon as possible.
Last year, some parts of the runway lights at the MMIA collapsed, forcing British Airways to divert its flight to the Abuja airport.