The Federal Government has installed the Low Level Windshear Alert System (LLWAS), at the Umar Musa Yar’Adua Airport Katsina and 12 others to ensure safety.
While inaugurating the facility, at the airport, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika explained that the facility detects dangerous windshear that drops aircraft in low altitudes.
He said that the Katsina airport was the 13th airport in the country to have the safety facility installed.
Sirika said that windshear had previously caused air fatalities in Nigeria, adding that the most recent was the Sosoliso aircraft which crashed landed in Port Harcourt on Dec. 10, 2005.
He gave other instance as the ADC aircraft which crashed while attempting to take-off from Abuja airport on Oct. 29, 2006 with 96 fatalities including the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Maccido.
He listed other airports with the facility built by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) as Abuja, Benin, Calabar, Enugu, Ilorin, Kaduna, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Sokoto and Yola.
“Weather phenomena generally affect air navigation and windshear is one of the most hazardous weather events to aircraft.
A recent study by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and NiMet established that windshear is prevalent in all parts of Nigeria.
“Even the AIB aircraft accidents investigations also found out that windshear phenomenon was linked to some accidents.
“Aviation safety and security are top priority issues for the present government.
“The successful installation of LLWAS at 13 airports in the country by NiMet is therefore in consonance with the aviation safety policy of this administration.
“The agency has procured and installed other weather monitoring equipment including Meteorological image receivers.
“It has increased the number of its upper stations to eight and established a modern ICT infrastructure, which includes, computer clusters, for numeric weather prediction (NWP)” he said.
The NiMet Director General, Dr. Anthony Anuforrom, further explained that the windshear at the Katsina airport had the capacity to detect calm, steady winds, wind shifts in relation to the runway.
Anuforon said the facility, built from NiMet internally generated revenue, is in line with the global best practices.
He also indicated that NiMET is taking the Meteorological services provided by it beyond the aviation sector to agriculture, and other sectors.
Anuforom explained that windshear was a weather phenomenon that occurred when there was a sudden change in the speed and direction of wind.
According to him, windshear was first identified in Nigeria in 1956, when an aircraft taking off from Kano airport encountered a wind shear and crashed with 32 fatalities.
“Fortunately, through LLWAS, it is now possible to detect windshear around an airport and issue early warning to the pilots.
“This enables him or her to take necessary safety precautions and avert crashing,’’ he said.