Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, resplendent in his convocation gown at the City University, London
In about 90 days’ time, barring all other unforeseen occurrences, domestic airline operators will heave a sigh of relief as the much-talked-about Lagos airport runway 18Left would have been properly rehabilitated and made fit for night operations.
The relief will be brought to fruition by the new approval secured for the reinstallation of airfield lighting on the 18L runway by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.
According to the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Capt Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu, the approval will facilitate the installation “of a new lighting system for the airfield lighting and night operations for runway 18L at the busy Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos”.
The FAAN MD at an inspection of the Lagos airport said the new lighting system being procured when completed shall allow the runway to operate for 24 hours thus helping to mitigate operational costs currently incurred by domestic operators as a result of only visual or day operations.
This measure if finally materialized as pledged by Capt Yadudu, would end the 14-year-old waiting for the installation of the airfield lighting in which its contract was originally awarded in 2008 to P.W Nigeria Limited for the sum of N3.56billion.
Yadudu however explained that “many things you see that are delayed are not delayed because of negligence or lack of attention; it is because we have to follow due process,” he said.
He further narrated that “in two years, we couldn’t resolve the issues so we decided to let the ministry resolve it and get us approval to procure the lights,” Yadudu affirmed.
It is hoped that in about 90 days the project should be completed as the new contractor had since late last year mobilized for the project.
Recalled the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Dr Obiora Okonkwo had bitterly complained about the inability of domestic operators to do night operations.
He called of the airport owners to think through the challenge so as to allow the airlines to make use of night flights to mitigate losses from day flights alone.Share