To sustain the safety of flight operations and the record of zero accident involving commercial airlines since 2014, the federal government has deployed modern landing aids and other critical equipment in the Nigeria’s airspace.
The government is also currently installing Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Nigeria’s busiest airports in Lagos and Abuja, so that pilots can land their flights safely.
This was disclosed to THISDAY by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu, who noted that since three years ago, significant milestones have been achieved to ensure that the nation’s airspace is safe.
Akinkuotu, said the federal government has supported the agency to replace obsolete ILS and install new ones with accompanying Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) to aid precision for pilots in landing.
He said the agency had in the last one year installed ILS at Benin airport and currently installing second ILS at the airport so that the two ends of the runway could be used for approach.
In other words, pilots can land at the airport from the two ends of the runway.
NAMA, he said, has also replaced the ILS at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, which was damaged when an aircraft overshot the runway last year.
Another ILS is being installed at Minna airport in Niger state, which lost the earlier one earmarked for it to Kaduna airport to prepare the later to take in flights as alternative airport when the Abuja airport runway was under rehabilitation in 2017.
In addition to that, Akinkuotu said NAMA has created a platform to have direct interface with pilots so that if a pilot has any issues while flying in the airspace he can contact NAMA and table the problem immediately and the agency would tackle it.
This he said would eliminate the delay in passing such message through airline offices before it would get to the agency, adding that the chat room would also bring the agency and the pilots closer.
“Our airspace is very safe because we have made tremendous progress in the area of deployment. We are currently installing Category 3 ILS at the Lagos and Abuja airports to enable pilots to land at zero visibility.
“This means flights can land during the Harmattan haze, so there will be no more flight delays due to Harmattan dust and low visibility between the two airports,” he said.
The NAMA managing director also said the agency has installed Doppler VOR (very high ominidirectional radio range) in Kano to improve communications at the Kano Area Control Centre, which caters for the whole airspace in the northern part of the country and beyond.
Akinkuotu, said under his management NAMA was carrying out the sectorisation of the Lagos Area Control Centres, while that of Kano Area Control Centre had been completed.
He explained that the exercise was aimed at having easy traffic control and to reduce the job done by one person, which could be stressful in the sensitive management of traffic control.
“In addition to the installation of ILS, we are currently sectorising the Lagos Area Control Centre and when we complete the project we will have Lagos East and West. We have completed that of Kano, so we now have Kano East and West.
“This is meant to ease traffic management and also reduce the job done by one person, which can now be shared by the others,” he said.
On revenue from over fliers which earlier report indicated has diminished, THISDAY learnt that instead of diminishing, revenues from over fliers has increased by 20 per cent because there is increase in traffic in Nigeria’s airspace.
Records from the 2017/2018 earnings indicated traffic increase and increase in earnings from over fliers, which is projected to further increase by the end of 2019.
“There is increase in traffic and earnings in the 2017/2018 records so the report that we have lost revenue from over fliers is unfounded.
“We are also expecting an increase in revenue from that area by the end of this year because there is continuous increase in flight traffic,” informed agency source told THISDAY.