Agencies, stakeholders blame paucity of funds in fixing gaps in airport infrastructure

The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu says, the country requires over N1.5 trillion to fix airport infrastructure gap in the country.

According to him, the figure as provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2019, indicated that more still needed to be done not only in the area of promoting safety and security but also better passenger airport experience.

Captain Nuhu stated this in a panel discussion on the topic: ‘Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications’ at the at the just concluded conference of Aviation Correspondents in Lagos.

Captain Musa Nuhu said, due to paucity of funds and inadequate infrastructure many airports cannot operate beyond certain hours.

According to him, the infrastructure needed are fire cover, primary and secondary power sources, provision of communication, navigation and surveillance aids, automatic weather stations among others.

Represented at the occasion by the Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), NCAA Mr. Tayib Odunowo, Captain Nuhu said, certain conditions must be complied with if an airport was to operate beyond dusk.

Some of the conditions he listed are adequate and competent personnel, power supply and availability of ancillary service providers.

“My job as a regulator is, if your airport meets the standards, if you have all your landings aids in place and you have adequate and trained manpower is very, very important and there is no reason why you will not have your approval”.

He also mentioned security risks and traffic level as some of the challenges airports cannot carry on operations at night. 

“We have porous perimeter fence, added security issues which really, really to be looked at”.

Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Mr. Lawrence Pwajok said, despite the high cost of diesel, the agency had always granted extended services to airlines who made such requests and would continue to do so.”AGO is N920 per liter in Maiduguri and Sokoto and I have generators that consumer 100 liters per hour and that is over N90,000 and how much does the airlines pay for Navaids charges N20,000 for a B737″.

Other panelists, Mr. Roland Iyayi and Mr. Ikechi Uko stressed the need for urgent intervention to ameliorate the problems operators face in operating into some airports with inadequate facilities.”Because these assets are under-utilized and why don’t we turn those airports to full cargo operations in the evening after the passengers have done their own thing?.

While commending government’s efforts in upgrade of airports and landing aids, they decried the foreign exchange liquidity crisis and its effects on the dollars denominated sector, attendant rising costs of fuel and one-too-many limiting factors of both airports’ and aircraft utilisation.

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