by Adeniyi Abdul
Two days ago, an Arik Air flight which was scheduled to land at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja had to turn around and head back to Port Harcourt as the runway lights did not come on. This came barely a week after the Dana Air crash and only served to underscore the various allegations and counter allegations that were being thrown amongst members of the aviation industry.
Apparently members of the public are not the only one with concerns, as airline operators have called for a shutdown of the Abuja airport, to avert any disasters while ongoing maintenance activities take place.
The operators’ association, speaking through its secretary general, Muhammed Tukur called for the construction of a second runway at the airport to accommodate the growing traffic, pointing out that the ongoing maintenance activities at the airport had led to the shortening of the runway from its original 3,600 metres to 3,200 metres and further to 2,200 metres, which is not suitable for aircrafts like the B747, A340, A330 and B777.
“We are worried that both international airlines and domestic airlines are losing money,” Tukur said. “If care is not taken, they will end up crashing planes. The agencies should not jeopardise the lives of people.”
“We don’t risk the lives of the people. Any act that will make people nearly die, you can charge that person or government for attempted manslaughter – the law is there. If care is not taken, we will lose our cherished aviation category one status. The minister needs to sit down and map out her strategy on how to reposition the industry.”
We say yes and amen.