NIGERIAN Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has taken time to explain why some airports do not have capacity to operate night flights stating that the laws of the country has specific impact and anything else would be in violation.
The managing director of the airspace managers, Captain Fola Akinkuotu who spoke at the weekend during the League of Airports and Aviation correspondents (LAAC) Gateway Forum.
Captain Akinkuotu who spoke on the inability for airports to operate at night stated that the law states in Nigeria that flights to an aerodrome can either be visual-based: Visual Flight Routes (VFR) or instrument-based: Instrument Flight Route (IFR).
According to him, the laws specifically states IFR must be used for any aerodrome to operate during the night and for instruments to be used it must have adequate lighting and navigation.
He specifically said an airport like Nenin had navigation but if there was no adequate lighting then IFR cannot take place at that airport as both navigation and lighting go hand in hand for IFR.
His words,”The law in Nigeria states, there are two types of flying in Nigeria. Visual Flight Routes (VFR) and Instrument Flight Route (IFR). By VFR you are looking on the ground, looking for landmarks and by IFR you are basically concerned with the instruments that are on board the aircraft and those that are on ground. So the law in Nigeria says you can only fly at night under IFR and this is where the two things comes up. “
“What you require for night flight: two key things are the airport infrastructure, it must have light and all the lighting are required and you must also have the navigation and landing aid to accomplish that for night. Now let’s go to specifics, you talked about Benin, Benin has as far as navigation, it has the VOR there. Which means you can conduct an instrument touchdown in Benin at any time. “
“However, for night, you need light. If the lights are not there you have not met the requirement for night approach into Benin or into any other airport. I think the challenge is not a matter of visual, it’s a matter of day and night . If you meet the requirement you fly but in Nigeria today there is nothing called a visual-night approach, you do an instrument approach at night so if NAMA’s instrument for the approach are not available then it’s no longer an instrument approach and you can no longer land there. If NAMA’s instruments are available but the light required are not there then you can do a night approach, those two things must be met.”