Poor equipment, visibility stoke safety concern in aviation sector


Flight services across international and local operations are fast being marred by poor visibility and inadequate technology that impede safe operations at some of the airports nationwide.
While local operators continue to battle flight delays over weather vicissitudes due to the harmattan haze, some of their foreign counterparts are diverting flights to neighbouring countries.
The development, which causes revenue loss for the industry and inconvenience the air travellers, runs contrary to the Federal Government’s recent investment in CAT III Instrument Landing System (ILSs) for Lagos and Abuja airports in the excess of $6 million.
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) test-ran the newly installed ILS at Runway 18 Right, Murtala Muhammed International Airport in November. The exercise, according to NAMA, indicated that the equipment was fully operational on test basis, as all the ILS components, including Localiser, Glide Slope and Distance Measuring Equipment propagated signalled optimally.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, had said that its calibrations would be done in a couple of weeks to get the instrument available at both Lagos and Abuja airports by the third week of December 2019.
A category IIIA approach is a precision instrument approach and landing with no decision height or a decision height lower than 100ft (30 metres) and a runway visual range not less than 700ft (200 metres).
A senior official of the agency, who would not want his name to be mentioned, said the installed instruments were not yet in use because they had not been calibrated for precision, coupled with other limitations.
The source, however, added that the Lagos airport was not so bad for foreign airlines not to use it even during poor visibility.
The harmattan haze late 2017 and early 2018 also led to the shutdown of local flight operations for some days when horizontal visibility dropped below the stipulated minimum of 800 metres.

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