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Inadequate perimeter fencing of Bayelsa Airport stalls certification- NCAA

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Capt. Abdullahi Sidi, the Acting Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on Monday said absence of adequate perimeter fencing at the Bayelsa Airport had prevented the regulatory authority from issuing the airport a certification.

Sidi made this known to newsmen in his office at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) Lagos.

The director-general said every airport must have perimeter fence, which should be a solid wall with a buffer and sharp fence to stop pilferage at the airport environment.

Sidi said that was why full commercial flight operation was yet to commence in Bayelsa Airport, in spite of its inauguration about six months ago.

He, however, gave an assurance that once the perimeter fencing is perfected, NCAA would not hesitate to issue its certificate for commencement of operations.

The director-general noted that the authority would not compromise the security, safety and comfort of airport users.

He said: “Somebody called me on the issue of Bayelsa Airport, but after I did my own investigation.

“Perimeter fencing is number one requirement for any airport, which is safety. Someone said the government has done about 60 per cent of the perimeter fencing.

“The other side of the airport is creek but I said that is not acceptable to aviation industry.

“That perimeter fencing is the only thing remaining for Bayelsa Airport. There is no politics about it.

“That is the requirement and anything security is taken seriously. If we need to close an airport because of security issue, we will, until they comply.’’

Sidi also lauded the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for providing quality security systems at the nation’s airports, particularly the international aerodromes.

He said that in spite of some of the teething challenges at the airports, the major aerodromes; Lagos and Abuja, had continued to receive high ratings in the area of security in international community.

Sidi who is also the Director of Operations and Training, NCAA, explained that Lagos and Abuja airports had consistently scored over 90 per cent in international security audit.

He said that the government was focusing on security and safety at the nation’s airports.

Sidi said: “For instance, that air and the passenger sides of the airports are equipped with security gadgets like the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.

“This made it extremely difficult for intruders to penetrate restricted areas of the airports without detection.

“Also, we have what we call the airside and the passenger side of an airport. The airside is supposed to be much more secured than the passenger side.

“I am happy to tell you that even the passenger side, all have Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.

“So, it is difficult for any unlawful person to penetrate the airport without tracking the person.’’

He, however, noted that some of the security challenges in the industry were not peculiar to Nigeria alone, stressing that each country had its own security challenges that it battles.

He attributed the current high flight delays in the sector to influx of more air passengers, establishment of more airlines and insufficient aircraft among operators.

Sidi also mentioned poor weather and inadequate equipment at most airports across the country.

He said that the Directorate of Consumer Protection (DCP) of NCAA, was living up to its billing in protecting the rights of passengers.

The director-general said the industry had its own challenges, saying that an airline for instance, which had four aircraft and scheduled those aircraft to operate maximally.

He said unfortunately, if one out of these four aircraft developed a fault, it was going to affect the whole schedules.

Sidi said fight delay and cancellation could be as a result of bad weather.

According to him, there are two types of bad weather; the harmattan and rainy season.

He noted that NCAA had already taken care of that, saying that approach equipment had been upgraded to allow airplane to land in zero weather condition.

Sidi said: “We have category III Instrument Landing System (ILS). We have this in Lagos and Abuja.

“Other airports are Category II ILS. The only one you can’t do anything about is heavy rain.

“Most heavy rains in tropical zones do not last for more than 45 minutes.

“So, you wait to get the weather report to depart to your destination. Delays will happen when they have to happen.’’

Edited & Vetted By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Adeleye Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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