The Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has said that contrary to the petitions being written by the air traffic controllers (ATCs), working in the organisation, condemning radio communication in the airspace, the Very High Ominidirectional Radio (VHF) is working effectively and flights operations have not been disrupted in any way.
A statement from the agency, signed by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Supo Atobatele, said: “The management finds it difficult to understand the motive behind the combative posture of the air traffic controllers over their position on the communication status of the agency.
“The management is affirmative that the seeming gloomy picture being painted by this group does not exist as the daily statistics show more traffic across the nation’s airports, averaging 500 daily, apart from over 150 daily flights around the Port Harcourt Airport axis operated by the oil companies. Besides this, foreign flights into the country have been on the increase, just as the nation is being inundated with more requests by the foreign airlines aspiring to explore the Nigerian market. What else do you need to measure a safer sky?”
Atobatele said if there were no communication as being touted by the controllers, one might then ask of their magic wand in handling these flights in question over decades as suggested in their statement
“We view this latest affront on the management by the controllers as another attempt to distract its attention from pursuing the set goals of transforming the agency to a world class air navigation service provider.
Though ,we would not like to join issues with them, it however behoves on us to state that the total VHF radio coverage of the country has been completed and like any new project, it is being fine-tuned by the engineers to allow it operate as specified.”
The General Manager said there was an on-going effort to boost the Lagos Area Control Centre by deploying 120.9MGH and “what we demand from the controllers is cooperation to achieve this drive as a recent test run of the frequency by both controllers and engineers proved successful.”
The statement also said over 300 controllers had so far been trained this year alone to enhance productivity “and is on record that this group enjoys upmost priority in the scheme of things, particularly training in the agency.”
It added that with this advantage, it is absurd for “this group to use NATCA (Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association) platform to challenge the integrity of the management, particularly the managing director, Nnamdi Udoh, whose 32 years of service has been on the provision of quality air traffic management not only in Nigeria, but also in the sub- region.”
The agency also said the Federal Government had expended more than N15 billion on various capital projects in NAMA covering Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) automation, World Geodectic Survey (WGS-84), Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) and VHF radio coverage among other safety critical projects to boost air safety in Nigeria.