The Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema has commended the federal government for providing category two Instrument Landing System (ILS) and improved communication system at nation's major airports.
Onyema said that this would enable smooth flight operations in December, which is the busiest season for airlines and the high point of Harmattan haze, which lowers visibility and forces airlines to cancel their flights.
The Air Peace boss said airlines lost revenues amounting to millions of naira last year due to flight cancellations, adding the failure of the airlines to airlift thousands of passengers to their destinations last December damaged the image and goodwill of the airlines, as passengers did not understand that the airlines were not responsible for the cancellations of flights.
"I just learnt that the federal government is about to install landing aids at our major airports so that flights can operate during harmattan haze and flight cancellations during the period will become a thing of the past. I hail government's decision on that.
I have no doubt that the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika is all out to make a difference. I have no doubt and I sincerely commend him on this. I also commend him for the speed and timeliness with which he completed the rehabilitation of the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. That was unprecedented. That was also how he made efforts for the airlines to be included in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) forest window, which we benefitted with manufacturers," Onyema said.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu explained that the federal government has started the installation of Category two ILS, which enables flights to land at low visibility, with the Kaduna airport and expressed the hope that five more airports will likely get the equipment before December this year.
Onyema said that airlines clamour for enabling environment so they are happy with the minister for facilitating the installation of such critical equipment.
"There is evidence that he is very, very passionate about moving the industry forward. We believe that in the next one and half years all the complaints of enabling operational environment will become a thing of the past from the way he is moving. What we demand now is for people to help him develop the industry. He needs our collective support. This is important because there may be some people commonly known as experts in the industry who may want to derail him from these commendable efforts, so we need to support him to ensure that these so- called experts do not derail him. We should support him sincerely so that he can continue to move the industry forward," Onyema said.
He said that it is a thing of joy at Air Peace to read that Sirika has already kicked off the programme to improve the landing aids.
"We are happy because we know we lost revenues in millions during last year's harmattan. So it was also for other domestic airlines. Besides the revenue losses, Nigerian airlines lost goodwill before their passengers who did not understand that the flight delays and cancellation were not our fault but due to weather issues. We are happy that there would be a difference this year with what the federal government is doing," he added.