Reps call for immediate completion of ILS installation at major airports

• Query utilisation of N7.8bn for procurement of ILS approved for 7 airports

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, called for immediate completion and upgrade of Instrument Landing System (ILS) and other supporting equipment at major airports across the country, with the view to forestall future diversion of international flights to neighbouring countries.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of Urgent Public Importance sponsored by Chairman, House Committee on House Services, Hon. Wale Raji.

Worried by the dysfunctionality of the existing equipment which led to the diversion of international flights by forum airlines to neighbouring countries, the lawmakers expressed grave concerns over the utilisation of N7.6 billion approved for installation of ILS (phase one) at Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Maiduguri and Sokoto States respectively.

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In his lead debate, Hon. Raji said that the non-completion of installament of the ILS led to the diversion of several Nigeria-bound flights to neighbouring countries.

According to him, “over the years there has been several clamours from stakeholders in the aviation sector and other well-meaning Nigerians on the need for the Federal Government to adequately equip and upgrade the Nation’s airports with modern landing equipment from the current Category 1 and 2 in use in Nigeria to Category 3 ILS.

“The House also notes these agitations were predicated on the high number of delayed and cancelled flights during the harmattan season and inclement weather conditions which makes landing and takeoff of aircrafts very difficult or near impossible

“On account of poor visibility, some foreign airlines are presently diverting their international flights into Accra, Ghana and N’djamena, Chad and some other neighbouring countries with its attendant negative consequences.”

The lawmaker further solicited for the House intervention to ascertain the status of the recently installed Category 3 ILS, known as Cat 3 ILS, by Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos to enable pilots carry out approach to landing in zero visibility and see the runway no matter the weather conditions.

The lawmaker observed that recent media reports indicated that the Cat 3 ILS instrument is not functioning at its optimal capacity because of the non-availability of other supportive equipment like the runway and approach lights yet to be installed and upgraded by Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

He maintained that the lack of cooperation amongst the aviation regulatory agencies on account of petty differences has negatively impacted on the efficient management of our airports, contributed the ongoing crisis bedevilling the industry.

According to him, the constant diversion of airlines to alternate airports outside Nigeria had an adverse effect on its image and economy, hence the need for the House intervention.

Speaking in support of the motion, Hon. Toby Okechukwu called for imposition of sanctions against officials of the relevant agencies for ‘negligence of duty.’

“The ILS is there and we have been talking about calibration for the last three months. Nobody is doing their job.

“The Committee should find those who are responsible and investigate and report back to the House in two weeks,” he urged.

Also speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Abiodun Faleke, urged that the agency should adequately compensate the affected passengers.

In his intervention, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila harped on the need to initiate Passenger Bill of Rights “because the way Nigerian passengers are treated is a call for human rights concern.”

To this end, the House mandated its committee on Aviation to investigate the motion.

The House also directed the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the affected airlines to adequately compensate passengers involved.

The House mandated the Committee on Aviation to collaborate with the relevant regulatory agencies and other stakeholders in the aviation sector to ensure that all the acquired Cat 3 ILS and other supportive equipment were installed in the designated airports without further delay.

The Committee is expected to report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.

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