Bayelsa Airport: Delay in certification not political but on security issues….Ag.DG NCAA

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Ag. DG NCAA, Capt. Abdullahi Sidi

…….attributed recent flights delays on inadequate airplanes by operators

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says the Bayelsa airport will not become fully operational until there is adequate perimeter fence.

In an interview with airport reporters in Lagos, the Acting Director-General, NCAA, Captain Abdullahi Sidi said the absence of perimeter fence at the airport had delayed the authority from certifying the airport.

This is coming after 6 months the airport was inaugurated to commence flight operations.

He emphasized that the Authority would not compromise on security or bow to pressure to certify the airport when critical safety and security facilities needed for certification were absent.

“Every airport must have what is called perimeter fencing, which could be solid wall with a buffer and sharp fence to stop proliferation into the airport environment. Also, we have what we called the airside and the passenger side of an airport. The airside is supposed to be much more secured than the passenger side”.

According to him, this was not politics but a security issue and if they decided to close an airport because of security issue, they would until compliance was met.

“That perimeter fencing is the only thing remaining for Bayelsa Airport. There is no politics about it. That is the requirement. And anything security is taken seriously. It is a security issue. If we need to close an airport because of security issue, we will until they comply.”

The Acting DG NCAA stated that every airport must have what was called perimeter fencing, which could be solid wall with a buffer and sharp fence to stop proliferation into the airport environment.

On delays of flights, Captain Sidi attributed the current flight delays to insufficient aircraft among operators, poor weather and inadequate equipment at most of the airports across the country.

He assured that the Directorate of Consumer Protection (DCP), NCAA, is however living up to its responsibilities of protecting the rights of passengers in this area.

“Also, we have our own challenges. An airline for instance has four aircraft and scheduled these aircraft to operate maximally, and unfortunately, one out of the four aircraft developed a fault, it is going to affect the whole schedules.

“I don’t know how the operators are going to feel about this, sometimes, the operators too are selfish with their operations. When all their aircraft are put to maximum operations, when something happens to any of the aircraft, what are the plans put in place to address those challenges?

“Also, we have issue due to bad weather  – there are two types of bad weather; the harmattan, which we are already entering and we are trying to take care of that. The approach equipment has been upgraded seriously to even allow airplane to land in zero weather condition. We have category III Instrument Landing System (ILS). We have this in Lagos and Abuja. Other airports are Category II ILS. The only one you can’t do anything about is heavy rain.

“But, thank God, most heavy rains in tropical zones don’t last for more than 45 minutes. So, you wait to get the weather report to depart to your weather of destination. Delays will happen when they have to happen.”

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