Airline operators decry poor state of navigational aids at Nigerian airports

The Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, on Wednesday decried the deplorable state of navigational aids at airports around the country.

The Chairman of AON, Nogie Meggisson, made this known in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos.

Mr. Meggisson said the situation had made flying in the Nigerian airspace difficult during the harmattan, thereby leading to flight cancellations.

According to him, this has increased the sufferings of passengers and disrupted their plans for the festive season.

He noted that exactly 48 years today, on December 28, 1968, the first aircraft operated at CAT lll and landed in zero visibility at Heathrow airport, yet Nigeria was unable to land aircraft with visibility of about 800m.

Mr. Meggisson said: “Most international and local flights had to be diverted to Cotonou yesterday, which is rather unfortunate.

“The issue of the harmattan haze is a yearly seasonal occurrence as Nigeria has mainly Rainy (Thunderstorms) and Dry Seasons (Harmattan).

“If the world has been landing in zero or virtually no visibility since December 28, 1968; today 48 years later, Nigeria still can’t land with 800 metres of visibility?

“Why are the Navigation aids not working or upgraded over the years? Why is there no solution to this issue after 40 years of the airlines crying out?

“It is rather shameful that today in the 21st Century, we are still talking of operating at CAT l and unable to land at 800m at our airports.”

According to him, for the past three days, the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos was shut down until 6pm before flights could land.

He said that consequently, no airline could fly and passengers were delayed with colossal loss of revenue to the operators.