The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) plans to conduct a mock exercise on volcanic eruption for the recertification of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
This is in compliance with requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
NAMA General Manager at NAIA, Mr Robinson Baazo, said in Abuja on Thursday, September 30, 2021 that “we want to practice how to handle volcanic eruptions and how it affects aviation basically.
“Some years ago, there was volcanic eruption in neighbouring Cameroon.
“Not too long ago, there was volcanic eruption in Congo Democratic Republic at Kinshasa; about two weeks ago, there was volcanic eruption at La Palma in Spain.
“Basically, volcanic eruptions affect aviation tremendously when there is earth eruption in the air,’’ he said.
He lamented paucity of funds, which he said had restricted the acquisition of basic equipment and limited the effectiveness and efficiency of NAMA.
Baazo said, however, that there had been great improvements in Nigeria’s aviation sector compared to developments six years ago.
He said there had been improvements in facilities and stakeholders now adhered more to aviation laws.
Mr Macel Onwuakpe, Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator at the airport, said that ICAO normally carried out career audits on airports within their contracting states every five years.
He added that ICAO could no longer wait for five years more before conducting its inspection.
“ICAO conducts its `Continuous Validation Monitoring’ in less than two years, even in less than a year interval.
“Nigeria has never conducted mock exercise or mock drill on volcanic eruptions and it has decided to close that gap in 2021 by organising a mock volcanic eruption exercise,’’ he noted.
He said NAMA would call for stakeholders meeting and conduct workshops to prepare for the exercise.
“The workshops and stakeholders meeting coming up on Oct. 6 is to create awareness and sensitise people about the impact of volcanic eruptions on aviation itself,’’ Onwuakpe said.
By Gabriel Agbeja