… taxiway 95% completion
Hopes are high that airlines operating in Nigeria would soon commence 24 hours operation as the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, had promised that in a space of six months the agency would install the airfield lighting on 18Left (18L) runway of the Murtala Muhammed Airport.
Over the years airline operators and stakeholders in the aviation industry had clamoured for airfield lighting on this runway to enable them operate beyond 6pm.
According to Rabiu, the 18Left airfield lighting had been delayed because of a current contract that had been for many years.
However, he disclosed that the honorable minister of aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, had graciously accepted to resolve the protracted issue and agreed to grant FAAN permission or approval to quickly procure a new lighting system.
While announcing that the taxiway Bravo was 95 per cent ready as it had no issues, the Managing Director explained that most government projects are delayed because of due process.
He said: “You know FAAN is a government agency; we cannot work and procure a new project when there is an existing one on the same facility. So many things you see that are delayed, are not delayed because of negligence or lack of attention, it’s because you have to follow due process.
“After two years taxiway bravo no issues, as so you can see it now. If not for the issue of an existing contract we would have finished lighting before bravo because it is more critical.
“Two years we couldn’t resolve the issues so we decided ‘let the ministry resolve it and approve for us to procure the light so we can fix it within six months.
“And within six months we install the lighting and the runway will operate 24 hours, it has all been agreed in principle, we are just waiting for implementation.”
He denied knowledge of any court case on the 18L lighting maintain the delay was as a result of an existing contract that became problematic.
“I am not aware of any court case on the lighting, it’s just that there is an existing contract on it, it was issued many years ago and it’s not something we know much about and so I cannot say much about it,
“It is however apart of government regulations that you cannot procure the same thing twice until you resolve the first one.
“The ministry has resolved the first one and has taken over, freeing FAAN now with an approval to quickly resolve it because it is a critical requirement.
“So the key consideration for us here is that if not for the existing contract, we would have finished that before taxiway bravo.
“If you compare, the lighting is more critical than taxiway Bravo but now taxiway Bravo is 95% complete, we just came from there, you will not recognise it from the taxiway that was overridden with grass and a lot of shrubs, and this is brand new.
“So it’s a clear indication that AFL would have been done if not for the existing contract.”