Reps Decry Diversion Of Lagos-bound Flights To Ghana, Chad
The House of Representatives has decried the diversion of Lagos-bound flights to neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Benin Republic and Chad, describing it as embarrassing.
The House expressed its disappointment at plenary on Tuesday following the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Representative Olawale Raji entitled: ‘Urgent Need to Complete the Installation and Upgrade of Landing Equipment in the Nation’s Airports to Enhance Safety in Our Airspace.’
Raji said it was an “embarrassing situation in the aviation industry, with the diversion of international flights coming into the country to Accra and Lome due to poor landing equipment.”
According to the federal lawmaker, there is an urgent need to act immediately to correct “this anomaly which is causing loss of revenue and giving the country a bad image”.
He said: “The House notes that over the years, there has been several clamours from stakeholders in the aviation sector and other well-meaning Nigerians on the need for the Federal Government to adequately equip and upgrade the nation’s airports with modern landing equipment from the current Category I and II in use in Nigeria to Category III ILS.
“The House also notes that these agitations were predicated on the high number of delayed and cancelled flights during the harmattan season and inclement weather conditions, which make landing and take-off of aircraft very difficult or near impossible.
“On account of poor visibility, some foreign airlines are presently diverting their international flights to Accra in Ghana and Ndjamena in Chad and some other neighbouring countries with its attendant negative consequences.
“The House is aware that the Federal Government has made budgetary provision for the procurement and installation of modern landing equipment in seven airports in Nigeria, amounting to about N7.8bn in Phase 1, comprising Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Maiduguri and Sokoto airports.”
Raji stated that the Cat III ILS had recently been installed by the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, to enable pilots ‘carry out approach to landing’ in zero visibility and see the runway no matter the weather conditions.
He, however, said reports in the media had suggested that the non-functionality of the equipment is due to the non-availability of other supportive equipment like the runway and approach lights yet to be installed and upgraded by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Olajide Olatubosun, another lawmaker, who seconded the motion, said the country had lost £5m as revenue due to the diversions.
The House subsequently resolved that both the airlines and the Federal Government, through NAMA, should be responsible for the compensation of passengers inconvenienced by the development.
The lawmakers also asked all relevant regulatory agencies and other stakeholders in the aviation sector to ensure that all the acquired landing equipment, including Category III Instrument Landing System and other supportive equipment, were installed in the designated airports.
In addition, the lawmakers mandated the House Committee on Aviation to investigate the matter and identify who should be held responsible for the plight of stranded passengers, whose flights were diverted to neighbouring countries.