The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has assured airlines and the flying public of its commitment to boost navigational aids and surveillance at the nation’s airports.

Critical among the projects the agency has promised to execute in a near future is the automation of Aeronautical Information Service (AIS), a project that was initiated since 2009, but has not been completed nine years after.

The agency’s Managing Director, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, told members of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) during a gateway forum organized by the league in Lagos that the agency would complete all uncompleted projects in the sector.

Captain Fola Akinkuotu
Captain Fola Akinkuotu

According to him, although the issue of Aeronautical Information Services Automation by the agency has dragged on since 2009, the management is determined to see to its completion so that NAMA can migrate to Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) in view of all the deliverables that would accrue to the agency.

In addition to the AIS, the industry expert hinted that the management was planning the upgrade of TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) system to enhance effective communication of the radios.

Akinkuotu listed other project requiring urgent attention as the installation of Category 3 Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), particularly at the Lagos and Abuja International Airports.

According to the NAMA boss, the deployment of the above hi-tech navigational equipment will ensure that aircraft can land in zero-zero visibility given the adverse weather at certain times within the year.

Another set of ILS and DVOR (Doppler VHF Omni-directional Range) to be installed in Maiduguri, Jos, Minna and other airports even as he promised to start the installation of multilateration equipment recently approved by government to capture and provide guidance to low-flying aircraft at the Gulf of Guinea.

The DVOR is a radio navigation aid recommended by the ICAO and introduced internationally for short and medium range aircraft guidance. The DVOR radio navigation equipment is a further development of the conventional VOR mainly recommended by ICAO to boost communication at all airports.

Already, the agency has installed brand new ILS and a Doppler Very High Frequency Omni-directional Range and calibrated the NAVAIDs at the Kano airport.

Akinkuotu listed other areas of progress made by the agency to include, improvement in Air Traffic Control (ATC) capacity through training and retraining of critical personnel and others, addressing depleting ATC manpower, enhanced staff welfare through implementation of harmonization of salaries and the signing of new condition of service which is awaiting approval by government.

He commended the agency for contributing to an accident-free year (2017) in the nation’s aviation history.

The industry expert said:

“Without NAMA, I tell you aviation will not be what it is today. We are focused and who provides that guardian system? It is NAMA. Without Air Traffic Control we would be running into each other? Who provides the control? Who is responsible? NAMA.

“So the contributions of NAMA towards an accident-free year are enormous, not often seen, sometimes not even very much appreciated but we are doing that which is our role and I think we are doing well. We are doing well. We are doing great effort to ensure that we improve on it”, Akinkuotu added.

Industry experts have identifed the Port Harcourt International Airport as an airport with many reported cases of communication failure might be solved in the next one year, when the agency would have completed the upgrade of TRACON.