By Lawani Mikairu
Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association, NATCA, Thursday explained why British Airways and Air France diverted their Lagos bound flight to neighbouring countries because of poor visibility at Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. According to the Traffic Controllers, the degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration at Nigeria gateway Lagos Airport, is responsible for the diversion of flights.
Speaking about the diversion of flights yesterday in a statement, Abayomi Agoro, President, Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association, NATCA, said the members are worried about the safety of flights into and out of Lagos Airport, adding that the poor state of the landing facilities is making their members work more difficult.
Agoro said: “ The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) notes with displeasure the unwholesome event unfolding at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport amongst which was the diversion of British Airways and Air France flights to Accra and Cotonou respectively”.
“The sad event was occasioned by poor visibility and haze but more worryingly accentuated by the degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration. We are equally concerned with the untold hardship the situation has visited on our members working in Lagos Terminal Approach position whose statutory responsibility is to ensure a round the clock safety in taking off and landing”.
“In as much as we sincerely appreciate government’s huge investment in the upgrade of aviation infrastructure in the sector, NATCA is nevertheless concerned about the perennial state of degradation of the essential facilities and working tools with attendant increased stress and workload which in practical terms translate to serious safety implications for the flying public”.
“NATCA, therefore, urges the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to restore the full serviceability of the navigational and landing aids to ensure an effective end to the uncalled hitches recently experienced and prevent the re-occurrence of same”.
“This is not the time to apportion blames but it must be emphasized that the time has come for all hands to be on deck to ensure seamless safety regime and prompt navigational services”.
“May we also use this medium to assure the flying public of our competence and preparedness to work with airlines and aviation stakeholders to ensure safety in our airspace”, he added.