Nigeria’s minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika assured Sunday night that the Abuja Airport runway would be opened around 10pm local time after a Max Air plane had an emergency landing there earlier in the day.
“Following the temporary closure of Abuja Airport due to emergency landing by Max Air, I am happy to announce that the aircraft has been towed clear & we will open within an hour,” Sirika tweeted.
“Thanks for your patience and understanding. Well done our fire fighting team who quenched the fire and operations staff who towed the aircraft away.”
The recovery team at the airport has removed the aircraft and the runway has been inspected and cleaned for reopening, it was learnt.
“The incident plane has been removed. What remains now is the sweeping of the runway in readiness for its re-opening for further flight operations,” Sam Adurogboye, general manager, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority said.
“NCAA Safety Inspectors are on ground for the necessary regulatory oversight.”
Max Air confirmed the accident in a statement.
“On May 7, 2023, a Max Air flight with 143 passengers and 01 infant on board, departing from Yola at around 14:05, was scheduled to arrive in Abuja at 15:00. However, the aircraft experienced two tire bursts on landing Abuja, and the emergency response team quickly responded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport” the airline said.
“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 tires are being replaced and the aircraft will taxi to the ramp for further investigations before being released for future flights.
“The airline would like to extend its appreciation to the airport authorities, emergency services, and all relevant agencies who responded promptly and professionally to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew on board.”
Commenting on the incident, one of the passengers who is the Former President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Mike Ogirima, who gave an account of the incident had said that the tyre burst occurred after takeoff from Yola Airport.
According to him, all the passengers safely disembarked from the aircraft.
Ogirima had said, “We thank God. We are still on the runway and the pilot has reassured us. He has called for the stairs and we are now disembarking from the runway to be evacuated to the airport building at the arrival hall.
“We bless God because we have witnessed the pull out of the tyre right from the airport in Yola and we went into a prayer session.
“I never announced it as a surgeon so as not to cause any panic but we bless God.”