All international flights bound for Lagos, Nigeria, have been diverted to Ghana following poor weather conditions and complications from new equipment installation.
British Airways and Emirate Airlines are among the carriers unable to land at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos and were instead rerouted to Ghana. The diversions are roiling travel plans for many of their customers, according to statements emailed to affected passengers and reviewed by CNN.
The diversion was as a result of poor weather in Lagos, which is Nigeria’s commercial hub, and inadequate equipment to check visibility, according to the country’s Ministry of Aviation.
These developments are greatly regretted, we wish to let the public know that the authorities at the Airport were in the process of replacing the old Category 2 Instrument Landing Systems with the newly procured Category 3 system that allows for the lowest visibility landing.
— Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria (@fmaviationng) February 13, 2020
The airport is “in the process of replacing the old category 2 Instrument Landing Systems with the newly procured category 3 system that allows for the lowest visibility landing,” said James Odaudu, director of public affairs for Nigeria’s Ministry of Aviation.
Instrument Landing System (ILS) works as a signal navigation aid that guides pilots when landing in low visibility. Airport authorities in Lagos experienced difficulties replacing their old ILS with a new one, making it impossible for airplanes to land.
“Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning of certain components, which, coupled with the unforeseen weather conditions, made landing at the airport difficult,” Odaudu said in the statement.
Passengers stranded at the Kotoka International Airport in the Ghana city of Accra have reacted angrily, saying it would have been easier if flights had been rerouted to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Fola Olatunji-David, a technology entrepreneur whose February 11 flight to Lagos was diverted, says British Airways has not made provisions to take them back to Nigeria after initial promises to do so.
“We landed in Accra on Tuesday night and they kept stringing us along. They kept changing the time, saying, ‘We will leave at 11 pm, we will leave at 2 pm’ but we are still here,” he said in reference to British Airways, in an interview with CNN.
Olatunji-David and other passengers have been in Accra for about three days, waiting for flights back to Lagos. He says many flights are fully booked, making it difficult to secure tickets back home.