Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has debunked the allegations that it stopped a chartered plane which was conveying some officials of the APC, from landing at Gombe airport on January 2.
The agency disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday; a statement which was also signed Yakubu Dati FAAN’s General Manager, Public Affairs, said that it was a known fact to all stakeholders that Gombe airport was not a 24-hour airport.
Datti said; “The airport’s runway is not open for flight operations, both scheduled and unscheduled, for 24 hours, as he also added that a Notice to Airmen, NOTAM, to that effect, was well known to concerned stakeholders in the industry.
“With the permission of the control tower, maintenance and security surveillance operations take place on the runway at periods when the runway is not active. This is a standard practice in the industry. One of such operations was taking place on the airport’s runway in the morning of the incident and unfortunately, the fire truck used for that operation, belonging to the Gombe State Government, broke down on the runway,” he explained.
He added that while efforts were being made by the engineering staff to remove the truck from the runway, the control tower at the airport was notified of the incident and a new, specific NOTAM was issued by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
“The issued NOTAM was to alert airmen of that incident for the purpose of asking them to stay away from the airport for a specified period of that day, in the overall interest of safety,” he said.
Dati also said that the fire truck was removed from the runway in less than an hour after the breakdown. He said that it was still unclear to FAAN, why the pilot of the chartered aircraft did not receive the issued NOTAM until the plane was over Gombe Airport.