Monday, November 4, 2013

PURPORTED PLANS TO BAN INT'L FLIGHTS AT ENUGU INTERNATIONAL AIPORT REFUTED. FIVE MORE INT'L AIRLINES APPLIED TO FLY INTO AKANU IBIAM INT'L AIRPORT, ENUGU

Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu:
It appears there are some people in the country who are seething with anger over the recent upgrade of the Enugu Airport to an international status. There were recent reports to discredit Akanu Ibiam Airport, which had it that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) may close international operations at the airport because its international status has not been gazetted by the Federal Government.

The NCAA however has come out to refute the reports, insisting that the regulatory body has no such plan, and describing such reports as mischievous. In a statement signed by NCAA’s general manager public affairs, Fan Ndubuoke, the agency said its role is civil aviation regulation, and that it is the Federal Government that controls policies that affect air transportation in the country through the Federal Ministry of Aviation. “The NCAA’s standards with respect to airport, aircraft, passenger and operational safety, security and experience are primary and not necessarily determined by designation of an airport as international or domestic. The relevance of such designation is only to the extent of the nature of equipment, traffic, security and uniform safety concerns,” NCAA said.

The NCAA also denied that it refused to clear a flight to land at the airport because the airport designation as an international airport has not been gazetted, saying that the gazetting of an airport is not one of the considerations of NCAA with respect to safety, security or passenger comfort and experience. “It is entirely false and preposterous to insinuate that gazetting constitutes a factor in NCAA technical analysis and certifications. The Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu having complied with all the requirements, is permitted to receive, and embark internationally bound aircrafts and passengers. The facilities and facilitation of passengers, crew and goods in international travel at the airport comply with globally accepted safety and security standards.”

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority further added that other relevant agencies such as immigration, customs and NDLEA are satisfied with the airport and facilities for the purpose of carrying out their statutory duties. “Airlines and aircraft operating internationally to the airport have also conducted their necessary inspections and assessments for their equipment and crew handling which they found satisfactory, failing which they would not operate.”

The Nigeria Airspace Management Agency has also installed all the necessary equipment that will ensure smooth operations of the airlines and assured that the facilities are of international standards as the International Civil Aviation Authority does not tolerate substandard equipment and materials in all airports, aerodrome and heliports worldwide. He said “aviation is not what it used to be in the past. You can’t install any equipment or material that is not certified. Our equipment’s come from ICAO designated manufacturers and we can’t go below that standard. Human lives are involved.”

Reports from the Ministry of Aviation have it that five other airlines have sent in their papers to be considered for operation at the Enugu Airport.