Following reports of planes slipping off runways at the Port Harcourt International Airport, experts have expressed worries about the runway’s safety and have called for a complete shutdown to allow for appropriate resurfacing.
They claimed that the lack of a central light on the runway made night flights into the airport dangerous, and that too much rubber on the runway’s surface caused it to hold so much water that when it rained, planes lost balance and skidded off the runway.
Insisting that the runway should be closed for proper resurfacing, they added that there was a curvature that needed to be maintained, such that the runway would begin to retain water, even during heavy down pours.
A former flight captain with Allied Airlines, Captain Wale Otubanjo, said most pilots often avoid flying into Port Harcourt at night, describing the runway as a dark hole approach, as there were a lot of trees surrounding it without adequate lighting, which makes it difficult to fly into the airport.
They encouraged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ensure that the AIB’s safety recommendations are implemented before inclement weather arrives, stating that the NCAA should ensure that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) does so.
In addition, Group Captain Ojikutu expressed worry about the NCAA’s lack of competent people to guarantee that the suggestions were followed, noting that the runway should have been licensed for flight operations.
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