An online news portal, reported that as a result of the harmattan haze, which became more pronounced in Lagos on Monday, visibility was reduced to 10 metres on Tuesday, far below the acceptable minimum level of 100 metres.
As a consequence, Dana Airlines’ flight from Abuja to Lagos, which departed the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Federal Capital Territory at 11am, was aborted about 15 minutes from landing at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, Ikeja, Lagos and was ordered to return to Abuja.
A Med-View Airline flight from Abuja to Lagos was said to have suffered a similar fate.
It was, however, gathered that the following carriers safely landed their planes at the Lagos airport due to their superior landing equipment.
It was learnt that the situation also affected flights to most other airports across the country, as all flights to the South-South and South-East from Abuja were either cancelled or postponed indefinitely.
Also, it was learned that a scheduled flight to Yola, in which passengers had earlier boarded the plane, eventually failed to depart Abuja two hours after its scheduled departure time, as the passengers were eventually disembarked.
A passenger on the aborted Dana flight from Abuja to Lagos said that the pilot had earlier announced that they were about 17 minutes away from landing in Lagos, but shortly afterwards announced that they were returning to Abuja because the plane could not land at the Lagos airport due to poor visibility.
Another affected passenger, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated, “What an experience for air travellers today? Bad weather in Lagos has left thousands of passengers, including yours sincerely, stranded at Abuja airport.
“Our 9am flight had to be aborted 17 minutes to landing in Lagos due to bad weather. We returned to Abuja and the waiting game continued. All flights to the South-South and South-East were cancelled. No flight from Lagos and none to Lagos as of 3:15pm. We are all still waiting.”
The passenger told our correspondent that the flight eventually left Abuja by 6.10pm and that he was just getting to his home in Lagos by 9.45pm.
Sources at the Abuja airport said that the development did not affect international flights, as scheduled flights on Ethiopian and Lufthansa airlines departed without any incident.
Some of the affected passengers painted a picture of total chaos at the departure lounge of the Abuja airport, where hundreds of passengers waited for several hours.
Calls to the spokesperson of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria did not connect, but the spokesperson of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Sam Adurogboye, said he was aware of the development but could not provide details.
He said the agency had earlier issued a statement warning the airlines of poor visibility associated with the harmattan haze, adding that pilots were not expected to endanger the lives of passengers due to poor weather.