Nigerian aviation’s health is not in the best of conditions, to say the least. While globally, the sector is getting back on its feet following the pandemic, Nigeria’s situation is on the decline. Among other things, the country’s airports also need significant upgrades but face several challenges.
What is needed?
Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure needs a significant upgrade for smoother and reliable operations. With an ongoing fuel crisis and carriers suspending operations, the country’s airline industry needs a proper plan to emerge out of the tricky situation. Recently, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, explained the need for better airports and the roadblocks hindering progress.
Nuhu’s opinions were shared by Mr Tayib Odunowo, Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), at a seminar organized by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos. Lack of adequate finance and insufficient infrastructure were cited as major impediments to night operations.
Some of the conditions laid down by Nuhu for airports to operate at night included:
- An adequate number of competent personnel
- Adequate power supply
- Availability of ancillary service providers
Nuhu also highlighted that Nigerian airports face issues related to fire cover, primary and secondary power sources, provision of communication, navigation and surveillance aids, automatic weather stations, and equipment, among other things. He estimated that it would take more than N1.5 trillion ($5 billion) to fix the problems faced by the airports across the country.
It’s not just the lack of funding that is plaguing the airports’ progress in Nigeria. Security risks, including robbery and kidnapping, are on the rise and deter nighttime passenger and employee activities at airports, which are mostly based on the outskirts of cities. Nuhu stated,
“The risks are enormous and seriously impacting on airports’ operations, airport workers and airline passengers/crew even in the daytime. Due to the downturn in the country’s economy, available data shows that the levels of passenger and traffic activities are not financially viable or self-sustaining to operate a majority of the airports beyond sunset.”
Nigerian airports need proper infrastructure to support operations after sunset. Photo: Getty Images
The case for night operations
Despite the challenges, Nuhu gave compelling reasons to invest in airport infrastructure for flights to operate after dusk. One of them was proper management of natural disasters, which rely on 24-hour airport operations for adequate handling of such situations. He also added that airports placed near the country’s borders could provide enhanced security in these sensitive areas when fully functional at night.
With the current situation of Nigeria’s aviation sector, Nuhu will be hoping that his observations are noticed by those in relevant positions to devise a reliable rescue plan to save the country’s airlines and airports.
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Source: Nigerian Tribune