……no airline will be given clearance to go there….NCAA
On Monday this week, the Bayelsa state Governor, Siriake Dickson inaugurated the N60billion Bayelsa International Airport perhaps to attract flight operations into the airport and stimulate business activities in the state.
The inauguration on Monday is the second time the airport is opened; the first time was on the 15th February, 2019.
Unfortunately, the patronage the airport seeks may be dashed as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA says no aircraft would be allowed to fly into the airport due to safety related issues.
General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye speaking on the opening of the airport by the state governor said, the safety issues noted by its inspectors during their visits to the airport were yet to be resolved.
“NCAA inspectors went there and inspected the airport, they came back and submitted a report based on which a position was taken, now that issues or what we call open items or deficiencies were communicated to the authority, managers of the airport, it is for them to correct them, take what is called corrective action and communicate that back to the NCAA and NCAA would go there again and inspect.”
He said the Managers and promoters have not done the needful in line with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, adding that until the corrective action were taken as regards the open items, the airport would lay fallow for as long as the safety concerns were addressed.
“And the reason why NCAA say it can’t be used for now is on account of those deficiencies which has been communicated to the managers and promoters of that airport to be corrected and once it is corrected, they notify NCAA and NCAA will go back again and check. We are restraining so they will not draw us into political issue, these are pure safety issues and we are guided by that.”
Adurogboye explained that the airport may have been commissioned or inaugurated but had failed to meet safety standards.
“So whether or not the airport is ready or commissioned or inaugurated what matters is that it is cleared by the NCAA for it to be used? There is no way it can be used.”
While inaugurating the airport Monday, Governor Siriake Dickson called on the Federal Government to direct NCAA to license the airport to commence commercial flight operations.
“The airport cannot be used because Bayelsa has government has not complied with the regulations. Everything we do in NCAA is based on safety. Once open items are closed, we will send our people to the airport for inspection” Adurogboye said.
The NCAA spokesman emphasized that no airline would be given clearance to embark on flight operations to that airport.
“It doesn’t matter the promoter, the issues is that lives are involved and there are things to be done which is according to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, once it is not complied with it cannot be used, it is an aspiration, you can build it, you can open it, you can do all manners of funfair, the issue is that, does it comply with the provision of the regulation? Once it does not comply, it cannot be used; those who will fly there know what to do.”
Director, Operations and Training and Acting Director General NCAA, Captain Abdullahi Sidi at a recent media chat in his office last year explained that the issue was safety related and has nothing to do with politics.
Captain Sidi said a perimeter fencing around the airport was a non-negotiable security feature for the airport’s functionality stating that until they comply, the airport would remain so.
He said,” After I did my own investigation, Perimeter fencing is number one requirement for airports safety, when I asked the Bayesians, they said they’ve not finished the perimeter fencing, they have done 60-80% but the other side is a creek, water and so on but that is not acceptable.”