Fresh facts have emerged over the reports that angry passengers prevented planes from taking off at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja yesterday after they blocked the runway.
The incident actually began at about 5.30pm when a Calabar bound Arik Air flight out of Abuja was refused landing at the Margret Ekpo Airport by the station manager due to safety concerns.
The flight, which had on board Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke, had apparently failed to leave Abuja on schedule so that by the time it got to Calabar it was no longer within the window of safety for landing because the Margret Ekpo Airport runway lightening is poor.
Despite spirited attempts by the governor’s aides to convince the station manager to allow the plane land, the airport official insisted that he was not ready to breach the safety rules on account of the governor, prompting the pilot to return to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.
However, on landing irate passengers decided to vent their anger at being returned to the nation’s capital by blockading the main runway thus preventing planes from taking off.
According to a passenger on one of the affected planes, after they had been sitting on the tarmac for more than an hour, the pilot disembarked them because of the blocked runway.
Other planes that had also been lined up for take off have had to return to the terminal where they disembarked their passengers.
Culled from Daily Times