A Power outage has left the entire Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos in darkness since Saturday evening. This has forced departing and arriving passengers to board and disembark aircraft with torchlights.
A SaharaReporters correspondent who was at the airport till 10pm on Saturday observed that all the wings of the airport, including the terminal, were in total darkness with only backup light illuminating the background of the terminal.
Due to the outage, the automated equipment at the airport has not been functioning, forcing security agencies to profile and screen passengers manually.
On Saturday evening, KLM passengers were forced to board the plane with the aid of torchlights, while staff of other departing carriers like Delta Air Lines, British Airways and Lufthansa either used light from their phones or torches to profile and board passengers without proper assessment.
Also, passengers of the early morning flights that arrived the airport all used the ramp instead of fingers to disembark. Such passengers included those who flew Arik Air (London and New York), Virgin Atlantic from London and Air Maroc.
A staff of one of the airlines lamented on Sunday that the outage had lasted for days, but became worse on Saturday.
He described the situation as a disgrace to Nigeria, noting that some of the passengers were visiting the country for the first time.
He urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to address the epileptic power supply to the airport, especially the international wing.
“The situation has been like this for several days, but it reached its climax yesterday as the entire terminal was thrown into a thick darkness. In fact, workers of KLM Airlines had to use torchlights to profile and board their passengers.
“Also, this morning, we had to use the ramp to disembark our passengers. The same happened to Air Maroc, Virgin Atlantic and other early morning flights,” the source stated.
He added that some passengers had to undress before security agents for security screening.
Also on Sunday, SaharaReporters observed that some of the airlines have started bringing in generating sets to power their operations.
Air France and KLM Airlines resorted to generating sets to power their ramp offices.
A source close to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) told SaharaReporters that some early arrivals such as Virgin Atlantic, Air Maroc and Arik Air were diverted to local runways by the air traffic controllers on duty.
“For now, airlines can make use of the international runway for landing because they operate visual flight (6am to 6pm), but for their night operations (6pm to 6am), they will have to make use of a local runway, which is shorter and not adequate for the international airlines,” disclosed the source.
Source: SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK