Lagos airport runway reopens after undergoing 11 months of repairs

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has officially reopened the 3.9km Runway 18R/36L at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, following nearly 11 months of maintenance repairs.

Initially scheduled for an eight-week closure starting in March 2023, the maintenance extended beyond expectations, causing disruptions to air traffic and airline schedules.

Throughout the repair period, both international and local airlines had to use the shorter Runway 18L/36R designed for domestic flights.

Now, with the operational status of Taxiways 2 and 3, international airlines have an additional option besides the domestic runway.

Measuring 3,900 m in length and 60 m in width, the reopened Runway 18R/36L welcomed Kenya Airways and Qatar Airways, marking its return to service with ceremonial landings.

Despite a Notice to Airmen announcing the runway’s opening after midnight on February 15, last-minute issues delayed the reopening. Finally, after over 24 hours, airlines received clearance to use the runway.

The reopening offers relief to both local and foreign airlines relying on the airport.

FAAN’s Managing Director, Olubunmi Kuku, expressed determination to minimize further delays, emphasizing ongoing collaborative efforts involving the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, and Airline Operators of Nigeria.

MMIA, Nigeria’s busiest airport, operates two runways, with the domestic runway facing limitations for over 14 years.

The recent installation of airfield lighting and other components enabled the domestic runway to resume full 24/7 operations in November 2022.

Despite challenges posed by runway closures, experts highlight the financial impact on both airlines and airports, affecting landing charges and revenue streams during such disruptions.

FAAN remains committed to mitigating additional delays, ensuring a seamless resumption of operations at the vital airport.

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