Airports in the African state of Nigeria that do not meet the regulatory standards that have been set would be shut down.
This was the bold warning issued by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Muhtar Usman, who said that all airports, whether they are federal or owned by the state, must comply with the given standards set by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR)).
Usman said that each airport must be able to meet safety and security standards. It must also be able to improve passenger facilitation.
“We will not allow any airport to continue to exist if it does not meet that given international standard. That is our own position. We would encourage the states to ensure that whatever they do they must make sure that their airport conforms with international standards, which include international security standard, international safety standard and every other thing that efficiently facilitates passengers’ movement,” said the Director-General.
Usman stressed that airports that want to operate in daytime can be permitted to do and would be given the green light for basic requirements. But those that want to conduct nighttime operations must put up airfield lighting.
“There is what we call visual flight rule (which means flying only in the day) so we must not insist the airports must have airfield lighting if they don’t need to fly in the night. The only thing is that when we are certifying them we will certify them with restriction based on the operation they can carry out.
“It will be better for airports, whether owned by the federal government, state or local government, to have all the facilities but, of course, the facilities cost a lot of money. You know, if you have to operate in the night, you certainly need light and that will be at extra cost. That is why some airports want to operate daily flights. Some even want to operate one flight a day; some will like to operate three times a week. So such airports don’t need to have non-essential facilities but the basic facilities must be there to enhance safety, security and facilitation,” Usman said.
Usman said that security had been fortified at airports, in the wake of the reported theft on the runway of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.
“We have set up a committee to investigate if indeed there was the possibility that theft happened. Along the line, there is suspicion that there was stealing but it has not been established where it happened. This is because stealing can happen either at the point of departure or probably at the point of arrival or somewhere else.
“We have not been able to establish that and just as people speculated, even though we don’t speculate; the aircraft is designed in a way that it is difficult, I am not saying it is impossible to somebody to have access of the aircraft and take whatever unless it is a person that knows everything about the aircraft and knows exactly what to pick and in the right time, so it is very tricky. In the process of the investigation, all the areas that need to be beefed up have been beefed up,” stated Usman.