The Director of Airport Operations of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Henry Omeogu has attributed some of the aircraft incidents on the nation’s runways to incessant pilfering of safety critical equipment by staff of same agency.
Omeogu alleged that staff of the agency that work by the runway and airside are complicit in the stealing of cables and bulbs that provide lightening to the runways thus jeopardising the smooth landing of aircraft at the runways of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.
He made this known at the 2015 Murtala Muhammed Airport Safety Week in Lagos, where he decried the indiscriminate posting of untrained personnel to the airside for which he said its safety is the essence of aviation.
According to him, the agency spends huge amount of monies replacing the stolen cable that are critical equipment by those mandated to oversee their safety and ensure no foreign objects found its way into the runways of the airports.
Since the argument is that the area is a restricted zone and only those working there have access to the areas.
He disclosed that both the actions and the inactions of the personnel often result in serious incidents involving IRS, HAK, Emirates and FirstNation aircraft either while landing or taxing along the taxiways and taxi lanes.
Omeogu cited two incidents at the Port Harcourt airport recently when an aircraft landed and veered into the grass area having mistakenly taken a foreign object on the runway as the centre light because the bulbs malfunctioned and an airside driver who ignorantly drove a construction vehicle across the runway at the Enugu airport just to pick him up during an inspection tour of the facility.
He said “that is why l frown at the indiscriminate posting untrained personnel by both the airport authority and the airlines to the airside as these personnel are nothing but hazards that may course serious and regrettable accidents.” And said the authority is carrying out investigation into the theft.
He challenged the personnel to religiously work round the clock to identify cracks on the runway, wildfire, oil spillage, indiscriminate parking and frequent build-up of rubber as a result of frequent landing of aircraft.
Omegu further said “accidents and incidents that involve vehicles on the airside are attributed to lack of training, influence of drugs, and over speeding on the apron and airside. This must be avoided”
He explained that the 2015 Safety Week is to be used to provide awareness to both staff of all stakeholders and the travelling public on the need to observe safety culture at the airport environment.