The Benin and Enugu airport runways have been described as pathetic by pilots who fly aircraft into the airports. The pilots say the runways are accidents waiting to happen and have therefore called for the closure of the airports to fix the facility critical to safe landings and take offs.
At a stakeholders interactive forum organised by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in Lagos, one the pilots, Captain Chris Najomo said government must quickly address the problems for the safety of air travellers.
According to him, “the runway in Benin airport is pathetic, dangerous, accident waiting to happen, please, let them do something about the Benin airport; you can close it and resurface it, Benin and Enugu”.
He also pointed out that the 2nd taxiway at the Lagos airport that had been shut down for over 10 years should be given attention and the potholes on the taxiway.
“We are having potholes on the taxiway in Lagos, it is becoming more and more dangerous, so if we can do something about it,” he pointed out.
Captain Najomo also emphasized the need for pilots to be civil when talking to air traffic controllers; he urged chief pilots of the airlines to enlighten their pilots to respect controllers as 80 percent of them were not disciplined on the radio.
He also appealed to the controllers to do same, saying “when a pilot calls the ATC and they refuse to answer, another pilot joins in and another joins in, so it becomes difficult for the controller, please tell your controllers to at least also learn to answer the pilot as soon as they call you. We have radar now, so it makes easy for departure clearances.
“I appreciate and commend NAMA for what they have been doing, the airspace is safe now and getting safer and for them to be more efficient, we need to support NAMA”.
Captain Najomo also called for more efficient departures for all the aircraft lined up for takeoff, adding that NAMA should send their controllers for on- the-job training to a place like Heathrow airport, New York to understand how departure clearances are done.
Representative of the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator and Permanent secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, assured that once investigation was carried out whatever needs to be done would be done whether there was budgetary allocation or not.
“Whether for Benin or Enugu airport or for the taxiway for the Lagos airport, once we investigate and we carried out both technical or whatever investigation that needs to be done, what needs to be done will be done, whether or not there was budgetary allocation or not just like we did for Abuja airport”.