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FG speaks on diversion of flights in Lagos

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The Federal Government has explained why international flights were being diverted from Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, because of the bad weather.

Contrary to insinuations that the planes could not land because of outdated equipment, government disclosed that it has actually upgraded the standard navigational equipment in Lagos to CAT111 ILS, which allows flights even in zero visbility, unlike CAT II ILS where pilots can only land with minimum of 800m visibility.

Government said the upgrade was also done in Abuja.

However in Lagos, after caliberation, some inaccurate readings were noticed in the CAT III ILS @ runway 18R (for international flights) at the MMA.

“Unfortunately, it was in the process of re-caliberating that the weather situation in Lagos changed for the worse, hence the disruption of international flights into Lagos.

“Some airlines opted to divert their flights to Kotoka airport (CAT II ILS) in Ghana, leaving innocent travellers stranded”.

Government wondered why the airlines failed to diverted to Abuja (CAT III ILS), where flights to Lagos are regular.

Government however said “the situation at the runway 18R at the MMA is being rectified and normal flights will resume shortly”.

Here is the 10-point explanation by the government

1. The standard navigational equipment at the MMA is a CAT II ILS. And that’s what most airports, including those in advanced countries, have.

2. The FG, due to its commitment to passenger security and safety, decided to upgrade key airports in the country to CAT III ILS, which allows flights even in zero visbility, unlike CAT II ILS where pilots can only land with minimum of 800m visibility.

3. The CAT III ILS has been installed in Lagos and Abuja, in the first phase. Both were also calibrated. Pending are CAT III ILS for Kano, Port Harcourt, Asaba, etc

4. Nigeria, for the first time in a long time, acquired a calibration plane to facilitate easy calibration of the navigational equipment and also stop the practice whereby a calibration plane is hired for $500k each time.

5. The CAT III ILS in Abuja is working perfectly. But after caliberation, some inaccurate readings were noticed in the CAT III ILS @ runway 18R (for international flights) at the MMA.

6. Unfortunately, it was in the process of re-caliberating that the weather situation in Lagos changed for the worse, hence the disruption of international flights into Lagos. Some airlines opted to divert their flights to Kotoka airport (CAT II ILS) in Ghana, leaving innocent travellers stranded, when they could have easily diverted to Abuja (CAT III ILS), where flights to Lagos are regular.

7. Please note that some international airlines diverted their flights to Abuja.

8. Insinuation that perhaps the CAT III ILS equipment was never bought or never installed is akin to calling the dog a bad name just to hang it. The equipment was not only bought, it was installed.

9. The weather phenomenon that reduced visibility at the International wing of the MMA is not unique to Nigeria. As this was happening in Nigeria, over 100 flights were being cancelled within the span of one week at Heathrow in London.

10. The situation at the runway 18R at the MMA is being rectified and normal flights will resume shortly.

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