By YUNUS YUSUF
IKEJA- Paucity of funds, security challenges are some of the problems making night flights impracticable in Nigeria.
Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) made the declaration on Tuesday in Ikeja when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Quoting statistics provided by the African Development Bank in 2019, Nuhu said Nigeria would require more than N1.5 trillion to fix airport infrastructures gap.
He said poor infrastructure also contributed to the challenges faced in night flight operations in Nigeria’s airports.
Nuhu explained that any airport planning to operate beyond dusk required large financial outlay and compliance with important conditions for safe landing and take-off of aircraft.
He listed some of the conditions as the provision of adequate number of competent personnel, adequate power supply and availability of ancillary service providers, among others.
The NCAA also told NAN that security risks and traffic level were other challenges associated with 24 hours airport operations in the country.
“All manners of security risks including kidnapping, robbery and others are evolving rapidly in many parts of the country.
“The evolving security challenges make night operations dangerous because many airports, by reason of construction and operational requirements are located mostly on the outskirts of towns.
“The risks are enormous and seriously impacting on airports’ operations, airport workers and passengers and crew even in daytime.
“Available data show that the levels of passenger and traffic activities are not financially viable or self-sustaining to operate a majority of the airports beyond sunset,’’ Nuhu lamented.
He spoke with NAN on the side-line of the just-concluded 26th Annual Conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents.
The conference had: “Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications’’ as its theme.
Nuhu also listed airport and Air Navigation Services infrastructure, search-and-rescue and airline capacity as some of the safety implications of Sunset to Sunrise airports.
He said the high risk of accidents during night operations at airports due to inadequate power supply from primary and secondary sources was daunting.
He stressed that night operations at airports depended majorly on functional and appropriately calibrated landing aids and serviceable automatic weather stations among other infrastructure.
Nuhu cautioned that the absence of the essential infrastructure could lead to catastrophic consequences during night operations. (NAN)