UK mega carrier, British Airways, yesterday diverted its Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos-bound flights to Accra, Ghana, due to absence of functional Instrument Landing System (ILS, THISDAY has learnt.
THISDAY's investigation also revealed that the UK mega carrier had on Monday diverted its flights to Accra, Ghana because the pilots did not want to land at the Lagos airport where there is no functional ILS.
In November, 2019, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) installed Category 3 ILS at the Lagos airport so that flights could land at lower visibility, but the equipment was not calibrated.
Without calibration, its efficiency cannot be ascertained.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika early had last year acquired $8.5 million aircraft for calibration but the aircraft has not been put to use, informed source told THISDAY.
The source also disclosed to THISDAY that NAMA had in the past engaged the services of ASECNA, a sub-regional aeronautical agency in charge of the management of the airspace of French-speaking West African countries, but the engagement stopped when the Minister acquired the calibration aircraft.
While the Category 3 ILS has been installed, it is not put in use and the existing Category 2 ILS had been removed and replaced.
THISDAY learnt that foreign airlines that felt that it was unsafe to land at the Lagos airport at low visibility occasioned by the Harmattan, decided to divert their flights to Accra.
But despite the haze and dust, THISDAY learnt that foreign airlines are still landing at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, where the ILS is working.
"The problem we are facing is caused not by weather but by the bad decisions made by government officials. There is Category 3 ILS in Lagos but it is not functional because it has not been calibrated and because it is not functional, some airlines did not want to risk landing in low visibility in the evening and night. So, they divert their flights to Accra. ASECNA used to do the calibration for NAMA but the Minister acquired $8.5 million aircraft recently for calibration but it is not working. So, some airlines said they cannot take the risk and decide not to land at the Lagos airport," a senior foreign airline official told THISDAY. When NAMA was contacted the agency said it would not make any categorical statement on the matter.