The Federal Government has said that one of the reasons the Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA), Enugu can’t operate at night is as a result of illegal structures along the runway path.
The government also said that all the Instrument Landing Systems (ILSs) and lighting systems are already procured, ready for installation, but could not be deployed until the runway path was cleared of the structures.
Speaking with journalists after the tour of the facilities, Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said that the government was willing to upgrade the families to 24 hours operation.
“We saw during our tour that the instrument landing system, the approach field lighting system have been acquired by government, but the only problem is the deployment and because the runway has been extended, you need to put all those aids in place and space available, which is not under the purview of Federal Government, it has to do with the state.
“The Federal Government through the agencies has been talking with the State Government to make space available so that all the safety equipment required to make this airport functional are put in place.
“Contacts have been made up to the highest level in aviation and also the highest level in the state, which is the state government and the Minister of State for Aviation.
Everything has been put into consideration before designating this airport as international airport”, he said
Also speaking, Engr. Salisu Daura, the Director, Engineering Services of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said that the agency would ensure that all the challenges associated with the airport are addressed by the agency.
Daura who represented Engr. Saleh Dunoma, Managing Director of FAAN at the inspection tour said that utilisation of any airport must be in direct correlation with the operating hours of such.
He reiterated that FAAN was ready to install the facilities procured at airport and appealed to the State Government to do the needful.
He maintained that the facilities when installed would enhance flight operations to the airport.
“Once that is done, it will improve operating hours, which will increase capacity. Without the lighting system, the airport will be made to be more like a day light operation, so therefore closing around 6pm or 7pm. With air field lightening in place, it can be extended till maybe midnight.
“This will definitely increase activities at the airport. as for the lounges, it is a continuous process, we are always doing a lot of upgrade and innovations of our lounges including furnishes amongst others.
“Every airfield lightening system has a category. For international airport, the minimum is Category Two (CAT2) and that is what is in the design for Enugu and we cannot have that CAT2 with this land shortage. We have been on this since the runway was constructed. It has been extended to increase the length and width for it to accommodate bigger aircraft. That has been done, but we need these visual aids as a complement to the instrument landing system.
“The runway, based on the prevalent wind of this airport, the approach lighting system will be located along that runway and that is why we are appealing for the state to intervene for us to be able to get space for us to deploy the necessary equipment to make the instrument landing system truly Category Two, so that approaches and landing can be made even under instrument meteorological condition.”