Air Traffic controllers urge FG to rehabilitate airport runways, facilities

Posted by News Express | 3 August 2015 | 3,431 times

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The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) has called on the Federal Government to carry out a thorough rehabilitation of most of the nation’s airport runways and associated facilities that are in bad shape.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the association made the call on Sunday in a statement jointly signed by its President, Mr. Victor Eyaru and its General Secretary, Mr.BanjiOlawode, in Lagos.

The statement said the rehabilitation of the facilities would help to reduce the possibility of aircraft accidents at the airports.

It also listed critical areas of the sector that required careful, critical and patriotic actions to include the Lagos Central taxiway, TRACON, the Abuja second runway, airport facilities and the invasion of bees at the Control Tower in Jos.

The statement also listed the inadequate training and shortage of Air Traffic Controllers in the aviation industry, the absence of a national carrier, the challenge of existing Bilateral Air Agreements to local airline operators and indebtedness to the aviation agencies.

It noted that the Lagos central taxiway had been out of use for more than six years, due to the rejection of the reconstruction work on the taxiway.

The statement said: “This has led to only the usage of the Eastern taxiway whenever only Runway 18L/36R is available for landing and take-off.

“Aircraft accidents on the ground have been recorded more than twice, whenever wide bodied aircraft make use of the Eastern taxiway.

“The most recent was at 20:45 p.m. on July 6 when an Emirate’s aircraft ran into a parked Airline’s aircraft on the apron, when the FAAN Electrical department switched off lights on the longer Runway 18R/36L for maintenance.

“The un-serviceability of the same Eastern taxiway has prevented aircraft from accessing the only Compass Swing available in the airport.”

The statement, therefore, called on government to urgently fix the taxiway to prevent unnecessary aircraft accidents on ground and to increase the capacity of the airport.

It also called for efforts geared towards activating other important components of the Radar equipment and the timely completion of the ongoing Automatic Identification System Automation and Controller/Pilot Data Link Communications projects.

The statement urged the government to recruit more air traffic controllers, adding that the current 300 personnel is not sufficient to cover Nigeria's airspace. (NAN)

•Photo shows MMA, Lagos.

Source: News Express

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