The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has refuted reports that it may close international operations of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, insisting that the regulatory body has no such plan, describing such reports as mischievous.
NCAA was reacting to reports that it may bar international operations to the Enugu airport because its designation as international airport has not been gazetted by the Federal Government.
In a statement signed by the agency’s general manager, public affairs, Fan Ndubuoke, NCAA said its role is civil aviation regulation; that it is the Federal Government that controls policies that affect air transportation in the country, which it exercises and directs 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,” the Authority said.
The regulatory body 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.”
“The Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu having complied with all the requirements, is permitted to receive, and embark internationally bound aircraft 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,” NCAA said.
The agency also remarked 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 Authority insisted that it was not true that any aircraft was denied passage to Enugu on account that it was engaging in international operations.
On the Gazetting of the airport, he disclosed that “It is entirely false and preposterous to insinuate that gazzetting 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”.
He also said 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 before flying from the airport.
The managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency Engr. Nnamdi Udoh had told THISDAY earlier that his organisation 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 al 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”
The Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Oduah had recently confirmed that after the Ethiopian airlines airlines started flying the Enugu Adis Ababa route on Saturday August 24, 2013,, five other airlines have sent in their papers to be considered for the routes.