THEWILL reports that a United Nigeria Flight NUA 0504, operating from MM2 in Lagos en route Abuja, had temporarily diverted to the Asaba International Airport, in Delta State.
According to the umbrella body of Flight Dispatchers in Nigeria, in a statement issued on Wednesday, signed by its Secretary General, Victoria Adegbe, the Tower granted the request against the legal flight plan submitted by the Flight Dispatcher
It maintained that the Flight Dispatcher followed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations Part 8-Operations by filing a flight plan with the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS), which was transmitted to the Control Tower.
Details of the flight as stated by FLIDAN are as follows: “Departure – Lagos; Destination – Abuja; First Alternate – Enugu; Second Alternate – Port Harcourt; Time of flight – 13:00; Flight Duration – 55mins; Endurance – 6 hours.”
Emphasising that the weather folder given showed Abuja weather was okay, FLIDAN also noted that the Pilot called the Air Traffic Control (Tower) for clearance to depart to Asaba.
“Both the Pilot and the ATC seem not to follow what was filed, which by implication, meant that they disregarded “Operational Control” of the Flight Dispatcher, which empowers a 50% Joint and Equal Responsibility of the safety of the flight to the Flight Dispatcher.
“The Airlines’ Operational Control, which allowed a pilot to generate his own Operational Flight Plan, OFP, thereby taking full responsibility of the Dispatch Release, is an outright breach of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, NCAR Part 8.
“The Airlines’ Operations Control further contravened the NCAR, which states that an airline pilot shall take to the destination airport a copy of the Flight Plan, Dispatch Release and Load Manifest. By implication, if the pilot had the flight plan on him, he would have gotten his destination right. The Dispatch Release, if it was with him, summarises the departure and destination which was clearly disregarded,” it said.
FLIDAN further declared that the ATC should not have granted a scheduled flight clearance to depart to a destination that was not as filed by the Flight Dispatcher
“The Airline, in a show of absolute disregard for Aviation Law, went ahead to suspend the Flight Dispatcher, who upheld the Licence issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and carried out his job as required by law.
“We call on the NCAA to beam a searchlight on the Operations Control of the Airline, which has seized operational control from the Flight Dispatcher,” FLIDAN added.
About the Author
Anthony Awunor, is a business correspondent who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics (UNILAG). He is also an alumnus of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria Kaduna State. He lives in Lagos.