Inadequate perimeter fencing and attendant safety concerns were yesterday blamed for the current restrictions of commercial flight operations into the new Bayelsa airport in Bayelsa State. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the N60 billion worth of facility would continue to remain closed until the State government complies with standard rules on security and safety.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations mandate standard airports to have both perimeter and security fences. ICAO annex 14 sees to perimeter fence, while annex 17 has provisions for a security fence. The Bayelsa State government opened the new airport in February 2019 with the hope of attracting both regional and international flights. But since the commemoration, the facility has remained closed to commercial operations.
The acting Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Abdullahi Sidi, yesterday confirmed that the airport falls below the security and safety standard, and explains why the airport was denied certification. Sidi said once the state government erects the perimeter fence, the NCAA would not hesitate to issue it certificate for commencement of operations. He said: “Perimeter fencing is number one requirement for any airport, and that is safety issue. Someone said the government has done about 60 percent of the perimeter fencing and said the other side of the airport is creek, but I said that is not acceptable to the aviation industry.