Poor weather disrupts flight operations across West Africa
Due to extremely poor visibility conditions throughout the West African region, a large number of flights are experiencing significant disruptions, including delays, cancellations and diversions.
International airlines operating along the West Coast are having a hard time operating due to the weather and are either asking passengers to be patient for improved weather conditions or to rebook their flights.
According to gh-aviation.com, Africa World Airlines (AWA) had informed passengers booked on any of its flight to rebook their travel without any charge fees.
Also, several international flights into Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos were either cancelled or diverted to neighbouring countries due to the weather.
Last week Tuesday, Qatar Airways flight QTR1409, B788, with registration A7BCJ from Doha to Lagos diverted to Accra at 1430. Also, DHL flight DHV168 an ATR72, from Cotonou to Lagos was diverted back to Cotonou at 1436z due to weather. Emirate Airlines flight UAE783, a B737 aircraft with registration A6EBK from Dubai to Lagos was diverted to Accra at time 1452.
Furthermore, Cargolux flight CLX7129 a B747 from Port Harcourt to Lagos, diverted to Accra. Delta Airlines flight DAL214, from New York to Lagos was also diverted to Accra at time 1455z due weather.
British Airways flight BAW75 from London Heathrow to Lagos diverted to Accra.
Nigeria’s Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA), had attributed the frequent diversion of flights to neighbouring countries by foreign airlines to inclement weather and company minimal of affected airlines.
The airspace management agency in a statement said such diversions are in the interest of safety.
A spokesman for NAMA, Mr Khalid Emele in a statement explained that Lagos has two runways- 18 Right and 18 Left.
He added that the Doppler Very High Omni-Directional Radio Range (DVOR) and the Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) at the airport have successfully been calibrated and passed 100 per cent.
He stated that the localizer (a component of the Instrument Landing System) responsible for horizontal guidance at runway 18 Left has also passed 100 per cent calibration while the glide slope (which is another component of the Instrument Landing System that provides vertical guidance) is undergoing routine maintenance.
Emele disclosed that the maintenance will be concluded and the equipment shall be fully on the air today.
On Runway 18 Right, he noted that there are Category 3 ILS which is still undergoing installation.
His words: “Presently, Selex Systems, the contractors are working on the realignment of its parameters, preparatory to the calibration and commissioning of the equipment in the shortest possible time”.
“Meanwhile the agency hereby wishes to reassure airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian Airspace remains safe for seamless, and economic air travel and regret any inconveniences caused”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, is currently congested and can no longer take diverted flights.
BA’s Country general manager, Nigeria, Kola Olayinka, told BusinessDay, that “The situation is getting worse now. British Airways has a 747 aircraft stuck in Abuja. We have another aircraft stuck in Ghana for two days now. Accra is so full that they say they can no longer take diversion anymore. Even Air Peace could not land this morning. We just hope things get better,” he said.
Also, Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN corporate communications manager, said the situation is also not getting better as domestic airlines have also continued to cancel and delay flights.