Passengers on the domestic routes have continued to experience disruption in travel plans since the commencement of the harmattan season accompanied by haze and fog which blur visibility for landing and takeoff of aircrafts.
Little did many people know the gravity of the challenge until foreign carriers started diverting the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos bound flights to neighbouring countries.
The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) confirmed on Thursday the diversion of British Airways and Air France flights to Accra and Cotonou respectively.
President of NATCA, Abayomi Agoro in a statement lamented the turn of event, urging the appropriate agencies to upgrade navigational aids at the MMIA.
The statement read: “The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) notes with displeasure the unwholesome event unfolding at the Murtala International Airport amongst which was the diversion of British Airways and Air France flights to Accra and Cotonou respectively.
“The sad event was occasioned by poor visibility and haze but more worryingly accentuated by the degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration.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.
“This is not the time to apportion blames but it must be emphasized that the time has come for 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. ”