The domestic runway (18L/36R) of Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) resumed for flight operations earlier today, four months after it was shuttered by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
According to Nairametrics, the runway was previously blocked to allow for the construction of navigational equipment.
A Notice-To-Airmen (NOTAM) from the Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), seen by our correspondent, indicated that the runway lighting has been installed and used by airlines for their first flights out of Lagos today.
The NOTAM stated that FAAN completed the runway lighting sometime last week. But the reopening was delayed to ensure that the facility passed a reliability test carried out on it.
A source close to NAMA confided in our correspondent that an Air Peace flight was the first to use the runway for departure with the airfield and runway light. The aircraft, a Boeing 737 with the registration number: 5N-BLU, departed Lagos for Kano at 06:18 hours today.
FAAN had on July 7, 2022, shut down the 2.7 kilometres (2,700m) long runway 18L/36R for repair with a promise to reopen it within 90 days. But it took the agency over 120 days to reopen the facility for use.
FAAN had planned to install approach lights, runway lights (threshold and centre, edge light) and others on the runway, which until the closure could only operate sunrise services.
FAAN said after the installation of the new aids, the runway would operate both sunrise and sunset flights, which would further ease the burden of operators.
Recall that the runway was unveiled in 2007 after undergoing extensive repair works commissioned by the Federal Government. Unfortunately, the runway lighting, which enables aircraft to land safely on it at sunset, was not reinstalled after the initial repairs.
FAAN had promised that the lighting would be installed within a few months, but that lingered for another 15 years.
The failure to install the runway led to huge debts being incurred by the domestic airline operators as they resorted to using the international runway for take-off and landing during evening flights into Lagos.
The resort also caused domestic airlines to burn more fuel even as flights were often delayed.