The air return, according to investigation was due to darkness that engulfed the airport, which has been described as one of the best in sub-Saharan Africa with a 3.7 kilometre runway and 34.4 metres control tower.
According to the pilot, the runway was dark as at 6pm, thereby, making unsafe for landing of the aircraft.
Since the pilot couldn’t land the plane, he did an air return to Lagos 15 minutes before he was due to land on the Anambra tarmac of the new Cargo/Passenger airport, Saturday evening.
Speaking, some of the passengers said the pilot, shortly before landing the flight at about 6pm at the Umuleri Airport, announced that there was darkness (power failure) at the tarmac and the entire airport which made it impossible to land the aircraft.
However, for the safety of the passengers, the pilot was said to have returned the more than 100 passengers onboard the airline to Lagos, thereby, touching at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) 2 tarmac few minutes after 7pm.
A passenger, who craved anonymity, however, expressed disappointment saying their loved ones who came to received them could not.
According to her, the flight was supposed to be for 2pm but, the airlines didn’t leave until 5pm making it difficult for them to land due to power outage in the airport.
She said, ”We suspect foul play here and we think it all has something to do with economics,” she said.
‘‘A lot of people are stranded here. As at the time we came off the airplane in Lagos, we were told that an Abuja flight was landing in Anambra. Apparently, it would not have been ideal to return to Lagos. The pilot told us that there was darkness everywhere and there was no light on the tarmac and no light in the whole airport, saying that their primary concern was the safety of the passengers.”
Effort to speak with the spokesperson of Air Peace, Stanley Olisa, proved abortive as his phones were switched off.