By Adelola Amihere
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has 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.
In a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs , James Odaudu, the Minister also used the opportunity to inform the public 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.
The statement read, ‘Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning of certain components, which, coupled with the unforeseen weather conditions, made landing at the airport difficult.
“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.”
It further read, “On the diversion of incoming international flights to neighbouring countries, we wish to reiterate that the decisions are purely those of the airlines which we have no control over.
“However, it should be 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.”
Already, the Minister has granted approval to Qatar airlines to divert its flights to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja while wondering why some others decided to divert to another country.