The Nigeria Airspace Management Agency NAMA says its navigational facilities at the Murtala Mohammed international airport Lagos are operating optimally.
This is in response to the concerns raised by the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association NATCA in a statement over the degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration and that this was putting ATC’s under untold hardship whose statutory responsibilities it is to ensure safe take off and landing of flights.
The agency says though they were awaiting flight calibration in line with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA and International Civil aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations and world best practices, there was no cause for alarm.
“The attention of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has been drawn to a press release by the Nigerian Air Traffic Controller’s Association (NATCA) on the state of navigational infrastructure in the country whereby the group said the diversion on the 6th of January, 2020 of a British Airways London Heathrow – Lagos bound BA 075 flight to Accra was occasioned by the “degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration.”
In a statement, General Manager, Public Affairs Manager NAMA, Mr. Khalid Emele said nothing can be further from the truth but the problem was not a life threatening one.
While recognizing the right of the workers to clamour for better work tools and operational environment, he noted that the reality was that the navigational infrastructure nationwide was not in any state of degradation.
He said arrangements have been concluded for the commencement of flight calibration of navigational facilities nationwide from the 16th of January, 2020.
Mr. Emele explained 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.
According to him, the prevailing weather condition in Lagos of 1,500m is within the approved minimum state weather conditions for Performance Based Navigation (PBN) approach and landing on Runway 18 Right as well as Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach and landing on Runway 18 Left which is 400m.
“Nonetheless, the British Airways (BA) 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, BA 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 newly installed CAT III ILS was implemented to forestall situations like this”, he added.
He reassured all airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian airspace remains safe for air travel even as the agency was working assiduously towards continuously upgrading its navigational infrastructure in line with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.