Friday 1 February 2013

Transformation Agenda: Cleaning the 'graveyard'

Aviation Nigeria

by Tahir Sherriff

Activities to rid Nigerian airports of damaged aircraft remains have commenced in a new Ministry of Aviation project, pioneered by Princesss Stella Oduah.

The planes which have been lying around several of the nations airports had some dating back as much as 8 years. From technical problems or insolvency to government impounds and also de-commissioned planes, airports in Nigeria were becoming dump-sites and graveyards.

At least 65 planes ranging from small jets to Boeing 747's, have been abandoned at airports across Nigeria and the process aims to dismantle and rid the airport premises, a move which is described as a step to improve air safety, and aid in proper airport facility maintenance.

Notice had been given to the several owners of the abandoned aircraft's to move the planes before the dismantling process kicked-off. Beginning with a press release from the FAAN Corporate Communications Manager Yakubu Dati stating that the airports could not be used as a dumping ground and citing the safety and security implications caused by that scenario.

Some responded by weighing the cost implication and taking no action, others gave express go-ahead through notification to the aviation authorities and some entirely failed to respond.
For external observers it seems as one of those alternative seeking government projects, but from workers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport the large chunks of metals presented some ill luck, and they were quick to adopt the name 'the graveyard'

The large space was known to habour the remains of Space Worlds two aircrafts, a Dana passenger plane, two planes from Bellview, a plane from Nicon Airways and several others, with several appeals by the authorities in the past to remove this abandoned aircrafts by meetings with the owners and publication of paid notices in various newspapers in the past five years.

Before now, some abandoned aircraft owners had taken FAAN to court over the issue and got court injunctions that made it difficult for the Authority to carry out this exercise before now
This recent moves shows a technical approach to a social problem, solving an otherwise 30 year problem. It also follows an airport transformation that is unseen, with terminal remodeling which reports say have not been done in as much as 50 years.

Planes abandoned at other airports, including Abuja, and Kano, would also be dismantled as explained by the Director of Airport Operations of the Federal Airport Authority  Captain Henry Omeogu who is currently spear-heading the operation.


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