Alleged safety issues at Port Harcourt airport blown out of proportion…NCAA

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Recertification of Lagos, Abuja and initial certification of Kano, PH and Enugu airports are on..DG

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA says, issues raised by stakeholders concerning the safety of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa are blown out of proportion as they have since been addressed.

Left-Right: Mrs Carol Adekotujo, AGM PR, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA; Captain Elisha Bahago, Director, Operations, Licensing and Training Standard, NCAA; Captain Musa Nuhu, DG, NCAA and Mr Olusegun Koiki, Chairman, League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents at an interactive in Lagos

This is just as the regulatory agency says, work had started on the recertification and initial certification of the five major international airports in the country.

The DG NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu at an interaction session with members of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents, LAAC in Lagos said, investigation had revealed that, the safety concerns regarding the Instrument Landing System (ILS); the mandatory flight calibration and navigation were carried out on August 29, 2021.

“It is unfortunate and I wish people will clarify certain information before going to the public. Some of the information you have maybe outdated, but we do appreciate people talking and raising those issues. Sometimes, they show you something you don’t see and you need to work on them”.

According to him, the issue of cows straying into the airport regularly was untrue as the last issue of cows at the airport was about 16 years ago and since then, officially, NCAA had never had any of such issue.

On the alleged unclear markings at the airside, the NCAA DG stated that,  the runway markings were almost 95% completed as at September 4, 2021, adding that, there were issues but, it was being blown out of proportion.

“Yes; there is an issue of runway central light. It is one of the issues we are also discussing on the certification of the airport”.

He added, “Also, they said that there are several incidences of aircraft skidding off the runway at the airport, I don’t know which of the incidents they are referring to, but I know we had one in 2018. Runway friction test was conducted on the runway on July 21, 2021 at the airport. Also, they said too much water on the surface of the runway, which leads to aircraft losing balance and skidding off the runway. When did an aircraft lose balance and skid off the runway? The derubberisation of the runway is done regularly. The runway was last derubberised on the 25th and 26th June 2021”.

Capt. Nuhu however noted that, the main issue Port Harcourt airport has, was the issue of the backup generators for the runway lighting as the present ones  have some problems. 

“I think they got burnt or damaged. To my understanding, FAAN has been notified and I think they are in the process of replacing those ones”.

“Yes, we have issues in Port Harcourt, like every other airports across the world, it could be better. There are issues we are working on to rectify them, but I won’t classify the airport as unsafe”, he added.

On the proposed certification of the Port Harcourt airport, Capt. Nuhu explained that, the issues so far raised on the airport are the fences there. 

According to him, the fences were porous and it is one of the things they weree working on for the certification of the airport. 

“It is an ongoing project and we are working with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on that and it is one of the things that must be done before the certification. There is still a risk of wildlife coming into the runway and the risk assessment has been done and sent to the airport operator”.

On the recertification of the Abuja and Lagos airports, he stated that, Lagos and Abuja were certified a few years ago and presently, they were going through recertification. 

He stressed that, progress was being made as the few gaps identified were being closed and were working with the Management of FAAN to close those gaps so that recertification process could be completed as soon as possible.

“Some have been closed, others, we are in the process of closing them and a new gaps have come.
“Some of the projects they have to do are quite capital intensive, but we are working on them and I think we are getting some assistance from the ministry to give them the support on those heavy items that they need to do”.

He added, “Apart from that, we are also talking on initial certification for Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano Airports. All the international airports have to be certified. It is quite a big project to certificate five airports; two initials and three recertification. It is quite a heavy load to be done, but hopefully, we will get them by as soon as possible”.

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