Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Minister of Aviation for State, Mr. Hadi Sirika, has inaugurated the low level windshear and alarm system at the Umar Musa Yar’Adua International Airport, Katsina.
Speaking at the ceremony, he said the airport has joined 12 other airports across the country with the low level windshear alert system(LLWAS), a facility which he said is capable of detecting dangerous wind shear that drops aircraft in low altitudes.
The minister said the lack of low level wind shear facility across the nation’s airports has previously caused air fatalities in the country.
According to him, the most recent being the Sosoliso aircraft which crashed landed at the Port Harcourt airport on December 10th 2005 and the ADC aircraft which crashed while attempting to take-off from Abuja airport on 29th October 2006 with 96 fatalities.
“The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Maccido, several distinguished Nigerians and foreigners lost their lives in that crash,” he said.
Other airports across the country with the LLWAS built by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), according to him, include: Abuja, Benin, Calabar, Enugu, Ilorin, Kaduna, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Sokoto and Yola.
Sirika said wind phenomena generally affect air navigation and windshear is one of the most hazardous weather events to aircraft” adding that “windshear occur when the speed and or direction of wind changes abruptly. It is particularly dangerous during takeoff and landing when the aircraft is at low altitudes.”
He said a recent study by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and NIMET established that winshear is prevalent in all parents of Nigeria even as AIB aircraft accidents investigations also found out that windshear phenomena was linked to some accidents.
“Aviation safety and security are top priority issues for the present government. The successful installation of LLWAS at 13 airports in the country by NiMet is therefore in consonance with the aviation safety policy of this administration,” he said.
The agency, Sirika, added, has procured and installed other weather monitoring equipment including meteorological image receivers, stressing that it has increased the number of its upper stations to eight and established a modern information communication technology (ICT), infrastructure, which includes, computer clusters, for numeric weather prediction.
In his remark, the Director General of the agency, Mr. Anthony Anuforom, explained that the windhear at the Katsina airport has the capacity to detect calm, steady winds, wind shifts in relation to the runway, wind gusts, sustained divergent winds, (which indicate windshear), or strong and sustained divergent winds (indication of microbursts) around the airport.
He said the facility, built from NIMET internal generated revenue, is in line with the global best practices.
He said NIMET is fully equipped to is taking meteorological services provided by it beyond the aviation sector to agriculture, other sectors and beyond the country.