The Federal Government has granted approval to foreign airlines who applied to divert their flights to the Abuja Airport due to the persistent inclement weather at the Lagos international airport.
The Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika according to a statement by the Director Public Affairs, in the Ministry, Mr. James Odaudu has granted Qatar airways an immediate approval to use Abuja as an alternate airport.
The Minister says other airlines are encouraged to use the Abuja Airport as an alternate if they decide to divert to another country.
On the diversion of incoming international flights to neighbouring countries, he reiterated that the decisions are purely those of the airlines which we have no control over.
He noted that those flights could, and should have been rerouted to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja which is shorter or equidistant from Lagos to the foreign airports to which some of the flights have been diverted.
Senator Hadi Sirika noted, with great concern, the experiences of air travellers to and from the Murtala Muhammed International airport Lagos regarding flight diversions and, in many cases, outright cancellations, which have been occasioned by highly inclement weather conditions.
He admitted that some of the landing systems at the Lagos Airport malfunctioned coupled with the inclement weather but promised that efforts were on to ensure the full installation and calibration I the Category 3 instrument Landing Systems, ILS at the airport.
“While these developments are greatly regretted, we wish to let the public know that the authorities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos were in the process of replacing the old Category 2 Instrument Landing Systems with the newly procured Category 3 system that allows for the lowest visibility landing. Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning of certain components, which, coupled with the unforeseen weather conditions, made landing at the airport difficult.”
He added, “The procurement of the Category 3 Instrument landing System is in pursuance of the desire of the Federal Government to ensure the safety of air passengers by ensuring that airplanes can land with almost zero visibility.
We wish to assure the public and the airlines, that efforts are on to return the system to full working condition and that normalcy of operations will be re-established in due course.”