Uche Usim, Abuja
The Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika has on Thursday revealed plans to urgently the old and faulty Category 2 Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos with the newly procured Category 3 system that allows for the lowest visibility landing.
The move, according to Sirika, is to end air travellers nightmare as they have been forced to contend with incessant flight diversions and cancellations, which have been heightened by highly inclement weather conditions.
Speaking through his Director, Public Affairs, James Odaudu, the Minister said have been a malfunctioning of certain components of the Category 2 ILS which, coupled with the unforeseen weather conditions, made landing at the airport difficult.
“The procurement of the Category 3 ILS is in pursuance of the desire of the Federal Government to ensure the safety of air passengers by ensuring that airplanes can land with almost zero visibility.
“We wish to assure the public and the airlines, that efforts are on to return the system to full working condition and that normalcy of operations will be re-established in due course.
“On the diversion of incoming international flights to neighbouring countries, we wish to reiterate that the decisions are purely those of the airlines which we have no control over.
“However, it should be noted that those flights could, and should have been rerouted to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja which is shorter or equidistant from Lagos to the foreign airports to which some of the flights have been diverted.
“In recognition of Abuja as an alternate airport, Qatar airlines has applied to divert its flights to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, to which the Minister granted immediate approval. It is left to be seen why some others decided to divert to another country.
“We wish to use this medium to assure the general public that the comfort, safety and security of the flying populace remains the central focus of this administration and that no effort would be spared in ensuring this”, the Minister stated.