The Deputy Leader of the Senate, Sen. Ibn Na’Allah, has deplored the way Nigeria spends more on terminal buildings rather than procuring equipment to develop its airports.
Na’Allah, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the newly constituted Senate Committee on Aviation, said this when he spoke with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that he was reacting to the ranking of the Port Harcourt Airport as the worst in the World.
He said that emphasis must be placed on procuring equipment than remodeling terminal buildings.
The senator said that the equipment were affordable and available such that Nigeria should stop spending too much money on over-priced terminal buildings.
Na’Allah, an aviation expert and pilot, said that the instruments for navigation and landing were even much more important than the terminal building.
“A passenger needs to first and foremost arrive safely at his destination, to be able to land safely before he can begin to talk about going to any terminal building.
“You see, we may argue about this matter here and there, but the most unfortunate thing is that we cannot delete what can be said to be the truth.
“In assessing airports, there are certain basic parameters that are being put in place and until those parameters are met, if you rank it as the worst nothing can be done.
“In ranking airports, your ability to navigate to that airport and land successfully is one of the major considerations.
“The only way that can be met is if you have the instrument landing systems that is available and graded to be in conformity with what is obtainable in the present circumstances.
“Even the aircrafts we operate in Nigeria are far ahead of the facilities that are being provided by our own navigational system,” he said.
Na’Allah said that the ranking of the Port-Harcourt airport was not something that could be washed away as other airports in Nigeria were also lacking in equipment.
He recalled that a British Airways flight that arrived Abuja last week at about 4:27 a.m. could not land until about 8 a.m. because of lack of necessary equipment.
“The kind of weather that existed as at the time BA arrived Abuja, if it were to exist in Heathrow or Chicago or Atlanta that same aircraft would have landed.
“What it means is that the equipment are higher and they meet the expectations of present day navigation.
“The fact that it cannot land in Nigeria is telling you that the equipment that we have in Abuja are not adequate enough to have that kind of landing.
“That is why we can categorically tell you that if weather falls below 800 meters in Nigeria today, no airport can take any aircraft, there will not be any landing in any airport in Nigeria.
“The reason being that the weather minimal for instrument landing abroad is 800 meters, so the moment it is below minimal, there is nothing anybody can do because the equipment are not there.
“I really do not want to join issues but one thing is clear that we are not doing things correctly in that industry,” he said.
He said that the only solution was for the nation’s airports to put in place the relevant equipment at a reasonable cost.
Na’Allah recommended that the airports should procure equipments like ground radar with which an air traffic controller could taxi an aircraft to park even without physically seeing it.
“These equipments are available; for God’s sake let us depart from former way of putting too much money on other issues.
“You do not want to spend money that will be enough in putting equipments in five airports on one airport.
“You can see this a lot in most of the countries where you have gone to and these things are so easy to provide.
“They have been provided in some places at costs that ridiculously low when you compare to what we have in this country.
“Let us depart from the way we were doing things before; for the sake of our growth in the industry, provide this thing at a cost that we know is affordable by the Federal Government,” he said. (NAN)
Source : Leadership