AON Cries Out Over Poor State Of Navigational Aids At Airports


…Says Lagos Airport Is Littered With Obsolete Instrument Landing System

Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has expressed disappointment and displeasure at the deplorable state of Navigational Aids at airports across the country.

The body lamented that the deplorable navigational aids have made flying in the Nigerian airspace virtually impossible during the harmattan season thereby increasing the sufferings of passengers and disrupting their plans for the yuletide season due to flight cancellations.

The Chairman of AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, who stated this in an online statement this evening, decried the situation and described it as appalling and unfortunate.

He noted that exactly 40 years today on December 28, 1968, the first aircraft operated at CAT lll and landed in zero visibility at Heathrow Airport, but that today Nigeria is still unable to land aircraft with visibility of about 800m.

Most international and local flights, Meggison, stated had to be diverted to Cotounu yesterday, which according to him is rather unfortunate, adding that the issue of the harmattan haze is a yearly seasonal occurrence as Nigeria has mainly Raining (Thunderstorms) and Dry Seasons (Harmattan).

He said that if the world has been landing on zero or virtually no visibility since December 28, 1968, why Nigeria has not been not been able to land with 800meters of visibility 48 years after precisely on December 28, 2016 on the anniversary of the first CAT III landing at Heathrow airport.

According to him, “Why are the Navigation aids not working or upgraded over the years? Why is there no solution to this issue after forty years of the airlines crying out? It is rather shameful that today in the 21st Century; we are still talking of operating at CAT l and unable to land at 800m at our airports.”

He continued, “For the past three days MMA in Lagos was shut down until 6pm before flights could land. Hence no airline could fly and passengers were delayed with colossal loss of revenue to the operators. A Dana Air flight that departed Abuja at 10am could not land in Lagos and had to return to Abuja until 6pm before flying back again still leaving about 500 to 600 passengers to various destinations stranded at the airport. This is very unfair to operators who cannot charge passengers for the extra cost the airline has to bear on return or cancelled flights and we have to feed and lodge them in a hotel. NAMA and FAAN need to be more responsible to ensure that our airports are equipped with the right landing aids to allow 24hours operations in any weather condition.”

He said that AON has been screaming on top of it voice about this situation for a long time now, adding that the economic impact is too heavy on the airlines.

The AON boss added that 50 per cent of scheduled flights are delayed due to weather, scarcity of aviation fuel, inadequate screening machines at the Terminal Boarding exit points, insufficient parking for airplanes on the tarmac, as well as VIP movement among other challenges.

“How then can we make money to pay the high taxes and levies being imposed by the agencies and parastatals or contribute our quota to the National GDP this way? He asked.

“It is sad to note that Murtala Muhammed Airport, which is the nation’s biggest and busiest airport, is a CAT l airport. This means flights cannot land at below 800m due to the obsolete Instrument Landing System (ILS) in place at the airport. Yet all the aircraft being operated by the airlines are fully equipped to do a CAT ll or even CAT lll landing. If our airports were CAT lll as in Heathrow airport this same day on December 28, 1968, flights would have been able to operate normally in this harmattan season.” he said

Speaking further, Meggison said, “What we need is simple solutions. Get better equipment. If we had CAT lll equipment at our airports the airlines will fly. The relevant Agencies need to invest in modern Navigation aids and Runway lights so that we don’t have to come back again next year complaining about the same thing as we have done for so many decades. Also, the planned concession of airports might be a way forward provided it is transparent and with a clear agenda as the Concessionaire would make sure these landing aids are in place.”

Be the first to comment on "AON Cries Out Over Poor State Of Navigational Aids At Airports"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.