According to an aviation sector expert, it would take as much as #32billion to upgrade major Nigerian airports to operate 24 hours.
The expert who is close to the Ministry of Transportation, however, stated that the government does not have the resources to embark on a comprehensive modernisation of these airports. He explained that the cost is high because many of the airport facilities have become obsolete.
On Wednesday newsmen spoke to officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) who confirmed that the airports had been neglected for long and would take a longer time to fix.
A source in the operations department of FAAN said of about 30 airports in the country, only about six operate night flights, which means that a flight in distress can have no airport to land in the nearest distance, a situation, which could result in a major tragedy.
“It is very expensive to provide the equipment that will enable the airports to receive flights in the night. FAAN is losing huge revenue because most of these airports do not operate 24 hours. For us to do night operations we need to put so many things in place. Lighting must e adequate. Night landing depends on the intensity of light. In this modern Nigeria, there is no reason why we should have airports without adequate lighting or airports that cannot operate for 24 hours. This is because any aircraft can be in distress and it won’t have any airport to land,” the source said.
He noted that technology has left Nigerian airports behind because “most of the equipment at the airports have become archaic,” and it is capital intensive to replace most of these obsolete equipment because companies that manufactured them then no more have them or can they manufacture them now because they have become obsolete.”
He remarked: “When you go back to the manufacturers they will tell you the equipment is no more in production. Some of the equipment was produced by more than one company; it will be very difficult to get them to manufacture the equipment again so you are forced to migrate to the new system, which means you will have to do away with everything that you have. Producing old equipment is very expensive.”