The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has said it would commence the installation of the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) station and Very High Frequency (VHF) radio systems at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu this week.
This follows the successful installation of similar systems at the Jos airport in the network of the North-east corridor.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, who made this known in Lagos yesterday, explained that the installation of this equipment would enhance upper airways communication along the South-east corridor using 127.3MHz radio frequency.
He said the agency was determination to totally eliminate blind spots from the upper airspace, hence the installation of the equipment.
According to him, “We have seen improvement along the North-east corridor that we tackled lately in Jos, and we are determined to see that communication is effective in the entire airspace. If you can communicate just once instead of five times, the person at the receiving end understands you and is happy just as you are happy. If we can get better radios with good clarity, it will lessen the burden and make the job easier for both the air traffic controller and the pilot.”
He implored controllers to imbibe good work ethics and strive for professionalism even as he urged them to support initiatives of the agency such as the implementation of ‘sectorisation’, which he said was a continuous process.
Akinkuotu also promised to address concerns raised by controllers bordering on work tools, staff training and welfare among others during the recently held AGM in Kano.
In a live telephone conversation during the AGM, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who called in from Abuja, promised that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would continue to partner air traffic controllers and other relevant stakeholders to ensure safe skies for the country.
Also in his remarks, the Director of Operations, Mathew Lawrence Pwajok, itemised some of the achievements of the agency under his directorate to include sectorisation of Lagos Area Control operations into East and West sectors, reactivation of search and rescue operations, training of different categories of critical staff as well as licencing and rating of qualified air traffic controllers.
Earlier in his address at the AGM, the President of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Abayomi Agoro, drew attention to some of the problems affecting air traffic controllers such as shortage of critical manpower, unavailability of special fund for ATC training, ageing communication facilities, delay in the approval of air traffic controllers’ new scheme of service among others.
He enumerated the achievements of his executive to include the recent ATC-Pilot interactive forum held in Lagos as well as the induction of the newly rated controllers targeted at inculcating high ethical standards and professional competence in members.