Control tower said Air Force was rehearsing for Oct—Source
Passenger were never in danger—NAMA
By Lawani Mikairu
Sixty passengers aboard Azman Air plane en route Abuja yesterday, were reportedly thrown into panic as the aircraft almost ran out of fuel while hovering in the air for hours after it was prevented from landing.
Among the passengers were Sule Lamido, a presidential aspirant of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Senator Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central) and Senator Sabo Mohammed from Jigawa State.
A source, who was also on board the flight ZQ 2332, but asked not to be named, told Sahara Reporters that the aircraft departed Kano at 1:20p.m. and was expected to land at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja at 2:05p.m.
He added that when the pilot contacted the control tower for landing clearance, he was told that he could not land because of some military planes on special operation were at the airport.
According to the source, “some military planes belonging to Air Force were on aerial display rehearsal in Abuja ahead of the Independence Day celebration on October 1.
“The pilot was in a dilemma and thought about returning to Kano after spending over an hour hovering in the air and having already announced that he was running out of fuel.
“Some passengers rejected the decision and prevailed on him to land, saying they were ready for the consequences of violating the directive of the control tower.”
The pilot was said to have yielded to the request and landed without clearance from the control tower.
Reacting to the report that the Azman plane ran out of fuel after being prevented from landing, the Deputy Spokesman of Nigeria Airspace Management Authority, NAMA, told Vanguard on behalf of the Communication Manager, Mr. Kahlid Ebele, that: “It is not true that the plane ran out of fuel as every plane, before embarking on any flight, always has three hours fuel backup in case of emergency.
“A 45 or less minutes flight from Kano to Abuja could not have consumed the entire fuel in the plane even if the plane hovered for one hour. And our records at Abuja Airport did not show that such incident happened.”