Friday, 26 January 2007

Lagos to Abuja on Icarus wings

Flying blind or by sight in the clouds

I do not know if I should say I am in shock or just utterly surprised about the news that night flights would commence between Lagos and Abuja, the commercial and administrative capitals of Nigeria respectively.

One must say though that new Aviation Minister despite his rottweiler tendencies in other ministerial positions is acquitting himself well in this tenure, grounding inefficient and incompetent services, lambasting poor customer relationships and raising hackles over the cost of travel between Nigeria and Europe are brownie points in my book despite the fact that many are both skeptical and cynical.

Learning that until now radar at these major airports only operated for 4 hours a day with a range of only 15km is enough to make one fill ones pants in terror, Icarus was a braver person, we are up for an improvement to a maximum of 65 nautical miles for 24 hours.

I suppose beyond that, it would be radio contact and nothing else after 70 miles of flight or just over 12 minutes of flight on a typical Boeing 737. There are more competent persons to offer the detail should they be persuaded to.

Progress this is no doubt, because I do remember when I lived near the International Airport in Lagos, there was hardly anything between us and the walled area 500 metres away and the radar gear was just within the walls with times when the gear was stationary rather than rotating – we all felt the political pulse of the country through noticing the numbers and kinds of planes flying in.

This is progress to be lauded, I wonder if it is enough for a country like Nigeria.

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