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Passengers stranded, flights grounded as FG shuts Abuja runway


Thousands of air passenger were stranded in airports across the country as aviation authorities shut the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Sunday, after a Max Air aircraft experienced two tyre bursts shortly after landing on the runway.

The aircraft was coming from Yola when the incident occurred.

Scores of passengers onboard the plane were immediately evacuated from the aircraft which became stuck on the runway after landing.

The incident, which occurred at the runway end, led to grounding of several local and international flights following the closure of the runway by the Federal Government.

A statement by Max Air via its official Instagram page said all the passengers disembarked safely, adding that all necessary steps had been taken to ensure that the passengers were comfortable.

The statement read in part,” On May 7th, 2023, a Max Air flight with 143 passengers and 01 infants on board, departing from Yola at around 14:05, was scheduled to arrive in Abuja at 15:00.

“However, the aircraft experienced two tyre bursts on landing in Abuja, and the emergency response team quickly responded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

“We are pleased to report that all passengers and crew on board the aircraft are safe and sound. The airline has taken all necessary steps to ensure that the passengers are comfortable and are being taken care of during this time. They have been conveyed to the arrival terminal with their luggage and belongings.

“The aircraft tyres are being replaced and the aircraft will taxi to the ramp for further investigations before being released for future flights.

It added,” Max Air is committed to providing safe and reliable air travel to all its passengers. We thank all the passengers for their patience and understanding of what transpired.

The Regional Manager of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Kabir Mohammed, said there were no casualties.

He explained that the aircraft did not crash land but the necessary safety measures had to be taken because it happened on the runway.

He said,”We are just putting efforts together to evacuate the aircraft from the runway so that normal operations will resume. The Max aeroplane was coming from Yola.”

The runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was closed to traffic moments after the incident.

Meanwhile, Air Peace has apologised to its customers for flight cancellations and delays due to the closure of the Abuja airport runway.

According to a statement on Sunday by the airline, the cancelled flights include Owerri-Abuja, Abuja-Owerri, Abuja-Benin, Calabar-Abuja, Abuja-Calabar, Benin-Abuja, Abuja-Owerri, and Warri-Lagos.

It added that other flights facing delays into and out of Abuja had also been affected.

The statement read in part,” Air Peace expressed their regret for the inconvenience caused to passengers and appealed to their understanding and cooperation.

“The airline assured customers of their commitment to providing safe and reliable flights but also acknowledged that such incidents are beyond their control. The airline concluded by apologizing once again and urged passengers to contact their customer service for alternative flight arrangements.”

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