Airplanes that operate in and into Nigeria will start landing at two of the country’s busiest international airports during periods of poor visibility beginning from February next year, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency has said.
NAMA’s Managing Director, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, who disclosed this during an interview in Abuja, stated that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, would from the first quarter of next year become capable of receiving airplanes during periods of poor visibility.
He said, “We are close to achieving a higher level of landing navigational aid in Abuja. Except for some bureaucratic bottlenecks, we should have had a CAT-3 (Category Three) landing system here which will improve our capability to land airplanes under very poor visibility.
“And I mean under very poor visibility atmospheric condition that is poorer than what we have right now.”
He said the airports currently had the Category Two Instrument Landing System but explained that it was being upgraded to Category Three, which would enable aircraft to land even in near-zero visibility.
Akinkuotu added, “The category is not a category for the runway but a category for the landing navigational aid. As it is right now, we have the Instrument Landing System Category Two, which allows us to fly at some reduced visibility and to be able to fly lower than a Category 1 Instrument Landing System.
“Approval has been given, contracts have been awarded, construction has started for the installation of the Category Three Instrument Landing System. We had anticipated having it, but except for some bureaucratic bottlenecks, it should have been completed by now. However, I believe that before the end of January it should be ready and I’ll let you know.”
When asked to state the number of airports that NAMA was planning to have the landing system installed at, the agency’s boss replied, “Initially, we are planning for two, Lagos and Abuja, and the next one, of course, will be Kano. But for now, we are looking at Lagos and Abuja airports. This, however, will be followed very closely by the Kano airport.”