By Chinedu Eze
Early morning flights were disrupted Friday in the nation’s important cities of Lagos and Abuja as fog reduced visibility to non-flight levels.
Many domestic flights were disrupted and international flights were also affected as Virgin Atlantic Airways rerouted its flight to Lagos to Accra, while Arik Air flight from London to Lagos was diverted to Port Harcourt.
Passengers, who hurried to meet their flights in the morning yesterday, arrived the airports disappointed as the airlines rescheduled their flights from morning to noon, hoping that visibility would improve.
Thousands of passengers massed at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and the Murtala Muhammed Airport domestic terminal, known as MMA2, hoping and waiting for the fog to clear.
THISDAY learnt that by 10 am the fog had started clearing to about 800 feet, which is accepted minimum visibility, according to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) regulation.
But that was below the standard for Arik Air, which had to wait until the fog cleared to 1000 metres visibility before it started operation.
Officials of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) confirmed that visibility was reduced to 450 metres due to the fog in the morning, although the low visibility did not last very long; it later came up to 800 metres.
“We have visibility that was very low with fog. The aerodrome minima were very low. It is expected that since we are in the hazy period we will continue to have fog that will lower visibility. So we should expect fog in the morning, haze in the afternoon and evenings,” the officials said.
There was increased flight traffic by 3:00 pm as the flights which ought to have taken off earlier started airlifting passengers to their various destinations.