By Samson Echenim
The incidences of cancellation of flights, especially those due to hazy weather conditions in Nigeria will reduce soon at Lagos and Abuja airports as the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has acquired Category 3 instrument landing system and Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) for the two flagship airports.
Fola Akinkuotu, managing director of NAMA, while commenting on the equipment said installation of the landing aids which would commence soon, was part of the agency’s effort to ensure that aircraft land in adverse weather conditions, especially during the harmattan season.
He also revealed that the second phase of the project involving the installation of ILS/DME in Kano, Port Harcourt and Katsina airports will commence as soon as Lagos and Abuja installations are completed, stressing that the choice of these airports was informed by the severe weather conditions prevalent in them.
A competent aviation source told business a.m that this is the first time any Nigerian airport would be furnished with the Category 3 ILS, a system that helps aircraft to land in foggy, hazy and hamartan weather conditions, usually blamed for multiples of flights cancelations in Nigeria.
He however called on the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ensure a secured airport environment with perimeter fencing and stable electricity supply.
“The Category 3 instrument landing system can help aircraft land at the airport where they are installed even at zero visibility. This is the landing equipment used in most developed countries of Europe and America where there are foggy weather and visibility is always low.
“During hamartan in Nigeria, the weather become hazy and visibility is bad. So with this equipment that NAMA has acquired, aircraft can land a anytime at the airports, but the equipment needs table electricity supply. It does not work where there is unstable power.
“Another challenge here is that most of our airlines do not have on board facilities to leverage on the Catagory 3 ILS because they use old model aircraft.
Old planes don’t have the onboard equipment to use Cat 3 ILS. The international airlines which operate newer model of aircraft will find the equipment very useful, but the FAAN must provide a stable condition for the equipment to work, because it does not work in isolation,” the source said.