November 27, 2022

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Landing at Zero Visibility is Feasible in Lagos, Abuja; Three Other Airports Soon to Join the League

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L-R: Mr Olumide Ohunayo, moderator, Engr Tayib Adetunji Odunowo, rep NCAA DG, Engr Akin Olateru, Commissioner, AIB-N, Mr Mathew Lawrence Pwajok, Managing Director, NAMA and Amb Ikechi Uko, Sole Promoter, AKWAABA

Landing at zero visibility in Lagos and Abuja international airports is now assured while Katsina, Kano and Port Harcourt airports will soon join the league of airports with Category 111 Instrument Landing System, ILS, thus swelling the airports that landing could be made at zero visibility in Nigeria.

Mr Mathew Lawrence Pwajok, the acting Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, made the disclosure at the 26th international seminar organized by the League of Aviation and Airport Correspondents- Nigeria, LAAC-N, held at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.

He said the installation of Category 111 Instrument Landing System, Cat 111 ILS, in Kano, Katsina and Port Harcourt, will be fully completed before the expiration of the fourth quarter of the year.

Mathew Pwajok who was speaking at the panel discussion session at the LAAC seminar in Sheraton Lagos on the theme, “Sunset Airport: Economic and Safety Implications”, said NAMA had invested heavily in the provisions of navigation equipment such as “basically all airports in Nigeria have a minimum of CAT II ILS, most of which were installed brand new, so there is nothing like obsolete navigational facilities.”

The NAMA MD affirmed that “all federal and state governments-owned airports managed by NAMA are equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS), except where they are temporarily unserviceable or the Runway and Approach lights are unserviceable, but nevertheless you cannot refer to them as sunrise or sunset airports,” Pwajok said.

He objected to the idea of tagging some airports in the country as “sunrise” or “sunset airports” describing the notion as misplaced.

Mathew L. Pwajok further explained thus, “given that almost all airports in Nigeria have instrument landing facilities for approach and landing, meaning they are operating based on Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and not based on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) where the pilots are required to visually approach and land within Sunrise to Sunset time,” he enthused

The NAMA helmsman disclosed that “all Federal and State Government owned airports in the country have approach and landing navigational aids, as well as Satellite Based Performance Navigation procedures that can enable aircraft to operate at any time of the day into these airports”.

Mr Pwajok added that “NAMA in collaboration with sister agencies is willing to increase the operational hours of busy airports like Enugu, and Benin, while continuously willing to grant an extension of the operational hours of any other domestic airport on a daily basis as the need arises”, he said.

The MD however stated that it will be uneconomical for the agency to operate beyond 12 hours daily at a domestic airport just for a single flight.

He however revealed to airline operators that NAMA had always granted an extension of operational hours when the need arose. And added that the agency in collaboration with sister agencies will be willing to extend the operational hours of busy airports like Enugu and Benin when such a request is made

Earlier in his opening remarks, the chairman of LAAC, Olusegun Koiki, decried the high cost of aviation fuel and foreign exchange which he said had precipitated the vulnerability of airlines in Nigeria.

This year’s LAAC conference with the theme: Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications attracted industry bigwigs, investors, airlines, and stakeholders who all brainstormed on the way forward for the aviation industry.

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