Hazy weather: CAT 3 only solution to flight cancellations - Experts | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News

13.12.17

Hazy weather: CAT 3 only solution to flight cancellations - Experts

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Hazy weather: CAT 3 only solution to flight cancellations - Experts

As Nigerian airlines lose millions of naira to flight cancellations due to harmattan haze, stakeholders and experts are advocating for the installation of category three Instrument Landing System (ILS) at airports nationwide to end flight delays and cancellations.
A CAT 3 ILS would enable aircraft to land even in zero visibility and beat the current foggy weather which has disrupted flight operations in recent times.
Over 70 per cent of flights were delayed last week with cancellation estimated at over 50 per cent due to poor weather.
But while the passenger volume is high, the harmattan haze has stifled the airline’s revenue generating capacity.
But the only permanent solution, according to experts, is the installation of higher grade ILS which enables take-off and landing during blurred visibility. Some international airports around the world including Heathrow have since installed the zero take off and landing system.
However, any ILS category other than CAT I requires specialized crew initial and recurrent training as well as special operating manuals and rules for the owner operator of the aircraft being used. The operators would also have to install the equipment on their aircraft.
The Federal Government has 22 airports under its management with about five designated as international airports. The major ones are Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja; Malam Aminu Kano International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport.
Some stakeholders said though a CAT three ILS system is expensive to install, the government can install it at the major airports. This would save the airlines and the government millions of dollars lost to flight cancellations during hazy weather.
According to airline officials who spoke with our correspondent, as well as the prediction by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the worst is yet to happen with the prevailing weather condition.
Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi said all airlines are affected by the harmattan haze which he said is usually experienced for few weeks in December and January.
He stressed that though the CAT 3 landing system “is quite expensive”, it can be installed in some of the busy airports in the country.
Aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, rtd, tasked the government to end the problem of harmattan haze through the installation of the category 3 ILS at major airports which enables aircraft to land even in zero visibility.
“Why won’t government do that first to the busy airports of Kano, Kaduna, Abuja in the north, and Lagos, Port Harcourt. Benin and Owerri, etc? it will cost government not more than $3m to $5m for all these airports. These amount can be effortlessly taken from the BASA funds domiciled in NCAA account with the CBN”, Ojikutu said.
Also speaking, Capt. Dele Ore said government may not have the financial wherewithal to install the equipment while appealing to passengers to exercise patience since the weather situation occurs for few weeks.

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