Why Some Foreign Airlines Avoided Kaduna Airport
On March 8, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja was shutdown for repairs.
Flight operations were diverted to the Kaduna International Airport, but a lawmaker is alleging foul play in the entire process.
Despite assurances given by the Ministry of Aviation, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency that the Kaduna airport was ready; most international airlines avoided the airport like the Bermuda Triangle.
The House of Representatives had convened on Thursday for plenary and a motion was raised by Adeyinka Ajayi on the "Need to Review and Ensure that Kaduna International Airport Complies with Operational and Safety Requirements as Contained in Prescribed Aerodrome Standard of Nigeria Civil Aviation Acts and Regulation".
He said safety concerns have been raised at the Kaduna airport.
Mr Ajayi told lawmakers that the ramp markings at the airport were not adequate and the restriction was allegedly being violated by unauthorised users.
"These unauthorised users go right through the ramp marks and this violates international accepted standard relating to airport safety regulations.
"Also, the aircraft manoeuvring and parking space is allegedly inadequate to accommodate the high number of aircraft now operating in and out of the airport.
"The fuelling installations and procedure at the airport grossly fall short of international standard and pose grave danger to employees, passengers and the public," he said.
The lawmaker further stated that some aviation marketers transferred Jet A-1 product from bulk road tankers directly into equipment right on the tarmac and discharge same into aircraft.
"These marketers could not have been licensed to operate at the airport using this dangerous and illegal procedure neither do they have the requisite for storage nor quality assurance kit needed for required standard,’’ he added.
Ajayi also faulted the perimeter fencing and restriction of access to airside by livestock and local human traffic.
According to him, the airport is inadequately covered thereby leaving the airside and runway vulnerable to invasion by livestock.
“This poses a lot of danger to the safety of passengers and aircraft and can diminish our reputation in the international rating.
“If the safety concerns are not addressed, the country is at risk of losing its international Civil Aviation Organisation license,’’ Ajayi said.
Contributing to the motion, the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, said that the concerns raised in the motion had damaging consequences.
"If other airlines apart from Ethiopian Airline decline to use the airport, it goes to raise questions as to what do they know that we don’t know and have they communicated same to anybody?
"This is particularly when these airlines are to incur some economic losses and they decided to take the heat rather than use Kaduna airport," Gbajabiamila said.
Also, the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said there was need for the Committee on Aviation to intervene.
He said that the ongoing construction work within the airport posed a great danger to the safety of passengers.
"I suggest that the construction work can go on in the nights while planes land in the day time to avoid any mishap," Ogor said.
Opposing the motion, another lawmaker, representing Kaduna State, Garba Datti, said that flight operations had been on at the airport for about two weeks without hitches.
He added that the issue of discharging fuel inappropriately was not the shortcomings of the Kaduna airport authorities.
After deliberations, the house mandated the Aviation Committee to investigate the issues.
The house also asked the committee to inspect ongoing rehabilitation at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja and report back within one week.