Few hours after Air Traffic Controllers’ Association alleged that navigational and landing equipment at most Nigerian airports were not functioning optimally, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency has reacted, claiming that the aids were serviceable.
The association in a statement signed by its President, Mr. Abayomi Agoro, had on Thursday morning attributed the diversion of the January 6, 2020 of a British Airways London Heathrow–Lagos bound BA 075 flight to Accra and another Air France flight to Cotonou to the “degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration”.
But NAMA in its reaction on Thursday evening insisted that “the reality is that our navigational infrastructure nationwide is not in any state of degradation.”
NAMA in a statement by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Khalid Emele, however, said that it recognised and appreciated the right of its workers to clamour for better work tools and operational environment, but declared that its navigational infrastructure nationwide was not in any state of degradation.
Emele noted that the facilities were awaiting calibration in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and International Civil aviation Organisation regulations and world best practices.
He emphasised further that the idea behind the installation of CAT III Instrument Landing System in strategic airports in the country was borne out of the need to enhance safety, efficiency, access and seamlessness of flight operations in our airspace especially during the harmattan season.
The statement hinted that the prevailing weather condition in Lagos of 1,500m was within the approved minimum navigation weather conditions for Performance Based Navigation approach and landing on Runway 18 Right as well as Instrument Landing System approach and landing on Runway 18 Left which is 400m.
The statement added, “Nonetheless, the British Airways company requirement for approach and landing on runway 18 Right using PBN is 1800m as against the prevailing visibility of 1500m.
"It should be noted that all other foreign operators including Emirates, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, etc landed on the same runway in similar weather conditions.
“It should also be noted that BA, despite the above diversion, has been operating into Lagos daily using the ILS CATII on Runway 18 Left with the same prevailing weather conditions. Therefore, these diversions are avoidable based on existing facilities.”
The agency explained that the newly installed CAT III ILS was implemented to forestall situations like this.
It added, “As it stands, arrangements have been concluded for the commencement of flight calibration navigational facilities in the nation from January 16, 2020."