The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday, lamented the presence of several unapproved telecommunication structures obstructing the approved flight paths of aircraft and warning operators to pull them down or risk government sanctions.
This advice was given by the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, during a meeting with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) in Lagos.
This was as some ALTON members decried the demand notices from NCAA wanting them to pay a fee and obtain licences for structures erected within the airports and those outside the airports and are in no way posing a threat to flight operations. At the meeting, Usman informed telecoms operators that NCAA would be carrying out surveillance inspection of existing structure within the Nigerian airspace (on aerodromes or off aerodromes) to ascertain the compliance level of the structures with safety measures in terms of painting, markers, lightings and approved heights for the structures.
“There is going to be a compulsory and continuous surveillance inspection of existing structures within the Nigerian airspace to ensure sustenance of safety of air navigation,” said Usman.
Usman said under the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act, NCAA is empowered to prohibit and regulate the installation of any structure which, by virtue of its height or position, is considered to endanger the safety of air navigation.
“The NCAA will demonstrate zero tolerance for non-adherence to safety requirement as enshrined in the Civil Aviation regulations. And sundry violations will be seriously dealt with,” Usman added.
The NCAA boss therefore demanded that telecoms operators come forward and obtain Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) approval for every highrise structure, mast, tower installation, irrespective of the height and location for facilities to be sited within and around the airports.
However, ALTON is of the view that AHC should be a one off exercise, no renewals and that structures for AHC and payments to the NCAA should be selective – and not for all structures, particularly if it is not deemed to endanger air navigation.
Mr Gbenga Adebayo, the President of ALTON, in appreciating the engagement requested for a bilateral committee consisting officials of both NCAA and ALTON to be established to hold periodic meetings for a smooth working relationship.