Flights disrupted as power firm disconnects Abuja airport
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has disconnected the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from its network due to the failure of the airport’s management to pay electricity bills for about three months.
It was gathered that although the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, which is in charge of the facility, had switched on its generators, the disconnection of grid power supply by the AEDC resulted in some disruptions to flight activities around 7pm on Wednesday.
Impeccable sources at the NAIA and AEDC told our correspondent on Thursday that the generators at the airport might have been overworked as they were servicing the various terminals and the FAAN staff quarters on the airport premises, a development that led to Wednesday’s outage.
An official at the airport, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment officially on the matter, stated, “The airport has been disconnected by the power distribution company. As a result, the terminals have been running on generators since they were disconnected last Monday. The generators supply power to the airport and the FAAN staff quarters.
“Maybe the load on them was too much on Wednesday evening and this resulted in power outage at the runway. Of course, the power outage made it impossible for flights to take off or land on the runway during the brief period that it lasted.
When contacted, a senior official of the AEDC confirmed to our correspondent that the airport was disconnected because it was indebted to the Disco for about three months.
Although the official could not state the amount owed by the NAIA, he stated that the FAAN management in charge of the facility had contacted the AEDC.
The official said, “I can confirm to you that we have disconnected them. They owe us up to three months. They have come to our office and there is the likelihood that we are going to reconnect them back. But they must bring a letter of commitment that they are going to pay, even if it is part of the amount.
“But it must be paid at a particular point in time. They have come to our office for discussion and there is the likelihood that by tomorrow (Friday) they will bring the letter. Once they bring the letter, we are likely to reconnect them. But they must make a firm commitment on when they will pay us.”
When contacted, the Head, Public Relations and Media, AEDC, Mr. Ahmed Shekarau, told our correspondent that he had yet to be briefed on the matter.
However, the Deputy General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN Abuja, Mrs. Henriatta Yakubu, explained that the management of the airport had always ensured that there was constant power to ensure smooth operations at the facility at every point in time.
She dismissed claims that flights were interrupted, stressing that the airport was always lit by standby generators whenever there was power failure from the Abuja Disco.
“We make sure there is always power supply as our generators are switched on anytime there is power failure. The generators are put on as from 6pm, whether there is supply from the power firm or not, and this is to ensure that there is no interruption of flight activities in the evening and at night. This is a standard practice acceptable globally,” Yakubu explained.