Nigeria airports may have huge challenge in accommodating the projected increased passenger traffic if nothing is done now to address this problem, so says elder Gbenga Olowo, President,Aviation Roundtable Safety Initiative.
According to Olowo, the current airport facilities were inadequate and obsolete in some airports and in others non-existent, adding that it was sad that the country had failed to plan for the future.
In his opening remarks at the recent ART, Quarterly Breakfast Meeting in Lagos, he noted that, the problem of inadequate airport facilities to handle the projected traffic by the International Air Transport Association, IATA, must be accord urgent attention to benefit from the expected traffic.
“What about our airports, the parking facilities the wings hitting one another? In Accra two days ago the president of NANTA will bear me out, FAAN was talking to us that the airport that was built to accommodate 200,000 passengers that today is handling 7 million passengers. Meanwhile, the equivalent airport Schipol is already handling 70 million passengers; it shows how we plan our life and our nation”.
The ART President emphasized that the airport facilities have been overstretched, “7 million passengers right now, the facility is already stretched to the maximum ditto the airspace, we are having congestion on the airport definitely I am smelling congestion in the air and by the year 2035, what are our plans to accommodate the congestion that is about to happen?, because aviation is predicted to grow by about 6.5% in Africa. The roads are not safe, the sea is not fast enough, the only option is the air so, we the practitioners we have the major challenge of planning into the future, we have suffered planlessness till now, so we therefore need to plan. Our airlines how are they growing to meet the demand of the future?”.
Olowo also appealed to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA to urgently address pilot, air traffic controller communication problem to avert air disaster in the country as there had been reports of near misses.
“How safe is our sky in terms of all the services that are there? Those of us in the airlines we know we have a lot of near misses up there which the customer may not know but we do know”.