Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Abuja Airport Shut As a Saudi Cargo Plane Blocks Runway

Photo: Arik Air
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

A Saudi Arabian B747 cargo aircraft landed in Abuja last night and veered off at the maneuvering area of the runway, ran into a maintenance area of the runway and stopped.

No casualty was recorded while plans are underway to move the aircraft away following a preliminary assessment visit by AIPB, NCAA, FAAN and other relevant agencies.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded while some have been around since 6am but cannot travel till now about 12pm.

No flight has taken off because aircrafts are not on ground.

Some passengers who boarded Arik flight to Lagos are just disembarking from the plane.

The shutdown may last till this evening as airport authorities say they are making efforts to evacuate the cargo aircraft.

The crowd at the airport swells by the minutes as more passengers troop in unaware of the current stalemate.

Some airlines including Arik, Aero, Medview and Overland have already cancel their flights.

"All flights have been cancelled temporarily," the airlines say, adding that operational reasons are responsible for the cancellation.

Meanwhile, the airlines are off-loading already checked-in passengers, as passengers wait for information on available options.

Daily Trust learnt that the equipment that will tow the aircraft which blocked the runway, consequently causing the airport shutdown, is expected from Lagos.

There is slim hope if passengers will be able to travel today.

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