FOLLOWING diversion of British Airways and Air France flights to Accra and Cotonou respectively due to the state of navigational and landing facilities, The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA)has called for facilities to be calibrated.
President of NATCA, Abayomi Agoro who called for the calibration of facilities noted with displeasure, the unwholesome event unfolding at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport stating that poor visibility and haze which caused most of the diversion was heightened by the degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration.
Although information reaching our portal can categorically confirm that British Airways yesterday landed at the 18L (domestic runway) which navaids are calibrated and expecting the 18R to be calibrated.
Recall, Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation, on August 29, 2019 confirmed receipt of a $8.5 million King Air 350i calibration airplane in government’s quest to ensure workability of navigational aids and boost aviation safety and stem the $500, 000 bi-annual capital flight.
This equipment was expected to be put into use to ensure that the navigational or communication equipment like the Instrument Landing System (ILS), Very-high Omni-directional radio Range (VOR) are calibrated every six months to ensure they work accurately and precisely.
Nigerianflightdeck however learnt that the Calibration aircraft is still in the process of undergoing certification by the NIgeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) who will also certify the crew of the aircraft.
Agoro said, “We are equally concerned with the untold hardship the situation has visited on our members working in Lagos Terminal Approach position whose statutory responsibility is to ensure a round the clock safety in taking off and landing.
“In as much as we sincerely appreciate government’s huge investment in the upgrade of aviation infrastructure in the sector, NATCA is nevertheless concerned about the perennial state of degradation of the essential facilities and working tools with attendant increased stress and workload which in practical terms translate to serious safety implications for the flying public.
“NATCA therefore urges the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to restore the full serviceability of the navigational and landing aids to ensure an effective end to the uncalled hitches recently experienced and prevent the re-occurrence of same.
According to him, now is not the time to apportion blames but all hands to be on deck to ensure seamless safety regime and prompt navigational services.
May we also use this medium to assure the flying public of our competence and preparedness to work with airlines and aviation stakeholders to ensure safety in our airspace.
There is no known calibrator still in active service or current. Calibration aircraft cannot not calibrate by itself.