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Govt urged to switch to automatic solar-powered runway lights

BY EBELE ORAKPO

Barely two weeks after the Dana airplane crashed in Lagos killing everyone on board and some people on ground, reports say that another tragedy was averted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja when a British Airways aircraft overshot the taxiway of the runway. This was attributed to the failure of the airfield lighting on the runway, which made it impossible for planes to either take off or land.

It will be recalled that earlier on, night flights to Abuja were diverted to Lagos because the generator malfunctioned.
Speaking with Vanguard on this development, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of PSC Solar Industries, Dr. Patrick Owelle, urged the authorities to follow the trend in more developed nations as they are depending more and more on renewable energy sources, especially solar, for a sensitive sector like aviation.

He noted that no airport worth its salt ought to have power outage even for one second. “This is quite avoidable with uninterrupted solar-powered independent automatic and autonomous runway lights,” he said.

He noted that Denver International Airport, San Francisco International as well as many international airports are equipped with these automatic solar-powered runway lights.

Owelle advocated the use of uninterrupted solar-powered independent automatic and autonomous runway lights in Nigeria, saying they are not only cost-effective but safer and more environment-friendly.

“We guarantee these lights for 15 years and this will ensure that regardless of what is happening with the electricity company, regardless of availability of diesel for the generators and regardless of labor strikes which could impede availability of diesel or technicians, there will always be runway lighting at the airports and airplanes can fly in at all times of the night.”

Meanwhile, a September 2010 report by the British Broadcasting Corporation said that Southampton was the first UK airport to install these lights which are also used by the US Air Force in Afghanistan, adding that the solar-powered lights can operate for 120 days without charging.
File name: B& E stories 19/06/2012


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