The National Meteorology Agency has expressed frustrations over the Ethiopian Airports Enterprises for lack of cooperation and information sharing in areas of climatology.
During stakeholders meeting the Ministry of Transport has organized this week, the Agency expressed resounding concerns over Airport enterprise’s refusal to share crucial information when undertaking airport projects across the country.
According to Tafesse Regassa, director of Aviation Meteorology Service Directorate at the Agency, the Airports Enterprise repeatedly fails to notify the Agency about the development of new airports facilities to which the meteorology agency provides climatology data pilots depend on in every flight they operate. Tafesse noted that 70 percent of the air accidents are caused due to bad weather conditions and 25 percent are related with climatic cases.
Signifying the cruciality of climatology data for civil aviation and airport facilities, Tafesse signaled that there exists poor cooperation with the designated agencies. He pointed out that his agency has been facing challenging time as the development of new airports lack facilities of meteorological services that should be built as part of the airports infrastructure. Airports such as Shire, Nekemete and Dembidolo have been set up without the cooperation of the Agency. Yet, in the dying hours, according to Tafesse, the services are demanded to be delivered without the proper facilities in place.
Tewodros Dawit, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Airports Enterprises, reacted to the claims of Tafesse and said that partly it is the duty of the Agency to follow up and take initiatives to provide the required metrological services. According to Tewodros, the plans and the targets set forth to develop airports are communicated with all relevant government bodies including the agency.
Both Ahmed Shide, minister of Transport and Abdissa Yadeta, state minister of Transport, urged both the agency and the enterprise to cooperate to overcome the said safety concerns, rather than pointing fingers at one another. The state minister specifically warned that regulatory measures would be considered in the future unless both sides strongly consider working in cooperation.
That said, apart from the expanding and newly built airport projects in the country, the Ministry of Transport has reported that during the third quarter of the current Ethiopian Fiscal Year (EFY), Ethiopian Airlines has receives 13 passenger and training aircraft.
During the reported period, the flag carrier has received aircraft which include: two Q400, two A350-900, three B787-8 and one B737-800, a total of eight passenger aircraft. In addition to that, five DA40NG training aircraft have also been acquired. Currently, the flag carrier has been able to cut costs of 1.5 billion dollars as per the cost effective strategies it has launched in recent period of time.
Climatology data is very critical for the operation of any airline. And in the past, disregard to such services has been known to have caused serve damages to multimillion dollar airport facilities around the world. A new airport built in the small Island of St. Helena in Southern Africa raised controversy after it was learnt that it was a big challenge for aircraft to land at the airport due to strong cross winds that push aircraft out of the run way.
Aviation experts attribute the problem to failure to consider meteorological data and hold proper consultations with meteorology authorities before drafting the airport master plan.