The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency on Sunday rebuffed claims by Max Airlines that Saturday’s near crash at the Minna Airport involving one of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft was due to faulty landing systems at the airport.
NAMA in a statement on Sunday said that the Instrument Landing System at Minna International Airport was serviceable and was successfully calibrated early in the year.
Khalid Emele, General Manager, Public Affairs, NAMA, made the fact known in a statement in Lagos following Saturday’s incident involving a Max Air aircraft at the airport.
The airline’s Boeing 747-400 aircraft with registration number 5N-DBK had scraped the runway while the No.1 engine brushed the runway surface while landing.
The 560 passengers and 19 crew members on board and returning from Hajj in Saudi Arabia escaped unhurt while the Accident investigation Bureau (AIB) has begun investigation into the incident.
Emele faulted the claim by the airline’s Director of Operations, Capt. Ibrahim Dilli, which attributed the incident among other things, to the ILS at the airport which he described as “epileptic with unreliable signals”.
“While we acknowledge that we have absolute confidence in the ability of the AIB to conduct a thorough investigation (which is on-going), we are constrained to, however, put things in proper perspective for the benefit our airspace users and the flying public.
He said: “The reported weather on the day in question was 10km visibility in nil weather.
“Secondly, the said Instrument Landing System was successfully calibrated early this year and there has been no report of non-alignment by the equipment from pilots since then.
“Other operators that have used the facility after the incident have not complained about the ILS malfunctioning.”
According to him, NAMA has made available other alternative approaches like the Performance Based Navigation approach procedures and Very High Omni-directional Radio Range/Distance Measuring Equipment approach procedures which are alternatives to the ILS.
He assured airspace users and the public that the Nigerian airspace remained safe for air travel.
Emele said in furtherance to this, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, on August 29 took delivery of a brand new Beechcraft 350 flight calibration aircraft.
He said this would aid NAMA in the timely, regular and efficient conduct of flight calibration of its navigational facilities nationwide in line with global best practices.