SAN FRANCISCO, January 9, (THEWILL) – The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu Thursday said British Airways was to blame for this week’s diversion of a Lagos-bound BA flight to Accra, Ghana, insisting that that Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) has the required facilities to enable airlines land safely all day no matter the type and size of aircraft.
Captain Yadudu disclosed this during an exclusive chat with select Legislative correspondents while responding to questions on the diversion of the British Airway airline to Accra.
The BA crew had Monday diverted a Lagos-bound flight to Accra, Ghana, allegedly due to the absence of functional Instrument Landing System (ILS).
However, reacting to the allegation, Captain Yadudu dismissed the claim that the landing facilities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport had a problem.
Yadudu said: “It does not represent what actually happened.
“We just finished a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation with NAMA. NAMA is going to put out a statement shortly to set the record straight.
“BA diverted on its own accord not because they couldn’t land, but because they felt their own SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) demands that they divert.
“But the conditions were right for them to land, it was about 5:30 pm, it was not sunset, and the Runway Visual Range (RVR) was about 1800 but their company’s RVR was a bit higher, and nothing says they cannot have a higher one. But our own is 18, our landing condition visual as at that time, they met those conditions. It was because they have a higher standard and they went.
“All over the world, different airlines have a standard that is higher than the threshold but nothing says you are not allowed to go below.
“So they decided and went to Accra, primarily because Accra happened to be the nearest suitable airport for them, not because there are no other airports. If Abuja was closer they would have gone to Abuja; if Ibadan was well-equipped they would have gone to Ibadan, just for the suitability, because they will get the handling, accommodations, hotels, others.
“And I think they avoided Cotonou because it is a French-speaking country, but the next day they came back to Lagos under the same conditions and they landed and we made it clear and asked them, so why didn’t you land yesterday and have to go through the discomfort of carrying passengers overnight to other stations.
“I’m not saying everything is perfect but at times there is no need to declare war when there is no war.”