Nigerian carrier Air Peace says the cancellation of its flight from Lagos to Enugu on Sunday was due to flooding of the runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olajide, confirmed the development to newsmen on Monday in Lagos.
Olajide, while apologising to the airline’s guests for the cancellation, said Air Peace would continue to prioritise their safety.
Mrs Cecilia Oguama, Airport Manager, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, also confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Oguama said Air Peace, however, operated its flight from the airport to Lagos late on Sunday after the flood on the runway abated.
She said the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had begun plans to rehabilitate the runway to ensure that it was safe for flight operations.
NAN reports that the immediate-past Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had after his ministerial screening by the Senate told newsmen that the airport should be shut down for major repairs.
He said: “If you ask me, I will close Enugu airport tomorrow, actually today, because the runway has failed. They are maintaining it regularly to ensure safe operations.
“I am not comfortable because there are also other problems with the runway. It is short, it needs to be extended. We recognise the efforts by the Federal Government by closing down the market beside the airport.
“Also, people have built within the premises of the airport, on the safety area of the airport, and that ought not to be on the land belonging to FAAN.
“Whoever is the next minister will contend with that because this is safety. Enugu will be dear to the next minister,” he said.
NAN reports that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport is the only international airport in the South-East region of Nigeria.
According to FAAN, no fewer than 30,000 passengers pass through the airport on the domestic route, while another 10,000 international passengers went through the airport in 2018.