‘No More Flight Diversions on Our Airspace’

Fola Akinkuotu

Chinedu Eze

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA) Captain Fola Akinkotu, has assured the House Committee on Aviation that the recent flight diversions experienced in Lagos has been addressed, with the eventual calibration of the category 3 Instrument Landing System, (ILS) installed at the airport last November.

This is just as the House Committee Chairman, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji regretted that by allowing international carriers divert flights to Accra, Dakar and Lome, Nigeria was promoting trade for its neighbours.

Akinkotu, gave the assurance recently, when he met with the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation investigating the circumstances that led to several diversions of Lagos bound international flights to neighbouring West African countries, alongside his counterpart, the Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu.

The lawmakers had directed the committee to investigate and ensure that all the acquired landing equipment, (category 3 ILS and other navigational aids) were installed at the designated airports without further delay to forestall further incidences of flight diversions in the nation’s airspace.
Nnaji, had at the beginning of the meeting expressed concern of the parliament over the diversions saying, “we are concerned because, for our failure to do what we ought to do, we are indirectly promoting other countries to the detriments of Nigeria.

“Whether we believe it or not there is a silent trade war going on between Nigeria and other countries so situations like this can easily be exploited to the disadvantage of our country.”

He noted that the entire country was worried and disturbed because aviation has become a more desirable means of travelling due to the prevailing security situation in the country, adding that the development has placed more pressures and responsibilities on the sector, which required that more emphasis must be placed on safety through the provision of adequate navigational aids.

The NAMA boss who stated that the ministry and its agencies were working hard to sustain the over seven years of accident free period achieve by the sector through the provision and installation of modern aids regretted that the diversions occurred explaining that it was largely due to inclement weather.

He, however pointed out that if the category 3 ILS installed at the Lagos Airport way back in November 2019 had been calibrated on schedule the diversions would not have occurred despite the bad weather.

He however attributed the delay to the interferences that were observed from some of the erected communication masts around the airport during the initial scheduled calibration exercise.

had to meet to resolve the issue, which resulted in shutting down the affected masts to enable the calibration to hold unhindered.