Friday, December 3, 2021

“Lagos Airport Is Now Safe To Land International Flights”- FG

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The Lagos International airport has now been declared safe to land international flights after several weeks of diversion of international flights to other airports within and outside the country due to adverse weather conditions at the airport.

The federal government today made the announcement at a media briefing in Abuja. The minister for Information Lai Mohammed said that the two runways at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos have now been calibrated for CAT III ILS and safe for international flights landing.

Airport Is Now Safe To Land International Flights"FG
Airport Is Now Safe To Land International Flights”FG

He also apologized to Nigerians and other travelers who had to endure inconveniences resulting from the diversion of their flights.

“I will like to quickly take us through what caused the problem.

“In its commitment to passenger safety and security, the Federal Government has recently taken the decision to upgrade the navigational facilities at some major airports across the country.

“Consequently, the navigational aids at airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Asaba, etc. were all marked for an upgrade from Category II Instrument Landing System (CAT II ILS) to top-of-the-class CAT III ILS,” he said.

Mohammed said that in the first phase of the upgrade, the CAT III ILS was procured and installed in Lagos and Abuja.

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He said the government, in addition, procured a calibration aircraft instead of renting one each time for 500,000 dollars.

“Both Abuja and Lagos airports were calibrated. The CAT III ILS is working perfectly here in Abuja.

“But after calibration, some incorrect readings were noticed in the CAT III ILS at the MMA.’’

Just as it was about to be re-calibrated, the weather situation in Lagos changed for the worse, hence the disruption of international flights into Lagos.

“Some airlines opted to divert their flights to Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, which, by the way, does not even have a CAT III ILS but where the weather was not as adverse as that in Lagos.

“Many travelers bound for Nigeria became stranded.

“Again, this is much regretted. Of course, the same flights could have been diverted to Abuja, which has a perfectly-functioning CAT III ILS and where flights to Lagos are regular. But they instead chose to fly to Accra,” he said.

The minister, however, noted that when the CAT III ILS in Lagos ran into a hitch, the CAT II ILS at the runway 18R (international runway) remained the only option.

He explained that with CAT II ILS, pilots could only land their planes with a minimum visibility of 800 meters, compared to zero visibility for CAT III ILS.

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“The weather phenomenon that reduced visibility at the International wing of the MMA is not unique to Nigeria.

“While some flights were being diverted from the Lagos airport, over 200 flights were either being diverted or canceled at Heathrow in London,” he said.

Mohammed said that a number of airports around the world, even in the advanced world, do not even have CAT III ILS.

“This is because they feel that because adverse weather is only for a short period in a year, they don’t feel that the kind of huge cost that is required to acquire it is justified.

“Even the Kotoka International Airport that most flights were diverted to does not have CAT III ILS,” he said.

Photo Credit: Getty

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