Nigeria’s aviation minister is struggling to explain to the world why Lagos-bound flights are being diverted to Ghana due to the inability to install a functional Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) that allows for lowest visibility landing.
For days now, international flights into Murtala Muhammad International airport, Lagos are being diverted to neighbouring Ghana on poor visibility as airlines, passengers, investors continue to count huge losses.
Speaking on the shameful flight diversion and experience of air travellers to and from Lagos, Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, said that the diversion of incoming international flights to neighbouring countries is purely the decisions of the airlines which the government has no control over.
Sirika was reacting only days after this issue started, in a statement by the ministry’s Director, Public Affairs, James Odaudu.
According to him, the incoming flights could and should have been diverted to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja which is shorter from Lagos to the foreign airports to which some of the flights have been diverted.
The minister, however, expressed regret over the hitches encountered and assured the public of Re-establishment of Normalcy of operation in due course.
“While these developments are greatly regretted, we wish to let the public know that the authorities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos were in the process of replacing the old Category 2 Instrument Landing Systems with the newly procured Category 3 system that allows for the lowest visibility landing. Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning of certain components, which, coupled with the unforeseen weather conditions, made landing at the airport difficult. ”
“The procurement of the Category 3 Instrument landing System is in pursuance of the desire of the Federal Government to ensure the safety of air passengers by ensuring that aeroplanes can land with almost zero visibility. ”
He said in recognition of Abuja as an alternate airport, Qatar airlines have applied to divert its flights there and the request was immediately approved.
“It is left to be seen why some others decided to divert to another country,” the minister stated.
He assured the public and the airlines, that “efforts are on to return the system to full working condition and that normalcy of operations will be re-established in due course”.
“We wish to use this medium to assure the general public that the comfort, safety and security of the flying populace remain the central focus of this administration and that no effort would be spared in ensuring this.”