The Federal Government has announced that the two runways at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos have now been calibrated for CAT III ILS and safe for international flights landing.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the announcement at a media briefing in Abuja, said the Notice to Airmen (NOTAP) had been sent out to that effect.He recalled that in recent times, some international flights billed for the airport were being diverted to other airports within and outside the country due to adverse weather conditions at the airport.
The Minister apologised to Nigerians and other travelers who had to endure inconveniences resulting from the diversion of their flights.He, however, denied allegations by some commentators that the navigational equipment CAT III ILS was not bought or installed in the Lagos airport and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Mohammed also said that the accusation of ineptitude against aviation officials was misplaced.“I will like to quickly take us through what caused the problem.
“In its commitment to passenger safety and security, the Federal Government has recently taken the decision to upgrade the navigational facilities at some major airports across the country.
“Consequently, the navigational aids at airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Asaba, etc. were all marked for an upgrade from Category II Instrument Landing System (CAT II ILS) to top-of-the-class CAT III ILS,” he said.
Mohammed said that in the first phase of the upgrade, the CAT III ILS was procured and installed in Lagos and Abuja. He said the government, in addition, procured a calibration aircraft instead of renting one each time for 500,000 dollars.
“Both Abuja and Lagos airports were calibrated. The CAT III ILS is working perfectly here in Abuja.“But after calibration, some incorrect readings were noticed in the CAT III ILS at the MMA.’’Just as it was about to be re-calibrated, the weather situation in Lagos changed for the worse, hence the disruption of international flights into Lagos.
“Some airlines opted to divert their flights to Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, which, by the way does not even have a CAT III ILS, but where the weather was not as adverse as that in Lagos.
“Many travelers bound for Nigeria became stranded.“Again, this is much regretted. Of course, the same flights could have been diverted to Abuja, which has a perfectly functioning CAT III ILS and where flights to Lagos are regular. But they instead chose to fly to Accra,” he said.