FG Upgrades Navigational Facilities at Enugu Airport

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Chinedu Eze

Ahead of the planned reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, the federal government has installed modern navigational aids to enhance flight operations to the eastern gateway.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) announced yesterday in Lagos that it has successfully installed a brand-new CAT 2 Instrument Landing System/Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) to replace the old system which was installed since 2003.

The function of the facility is to provide the pilot flying into the airport information that will guide and enable him land the aircraft safely.

NAMA said a successful site acceptance test on the equipment has also been conducted by its engineers in Enugu in preparation for its calibration in the coming days.

Meanwhile, in a bid to address communication blind spots in the Lagos South East corridor, NAMA said it has installed a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) for satellite communication at the airport.

This Satellite Communication (SATCOM) node has further been integrated into the national satellite communication network, which is linked to the African Indian Ocean SATCOM Network (AFISNET).

Also linked to the VSAT is the newly installed Remote Control Air-Ground (RCAG) Very High Frequency (VHF) radio communication system to ensure that Enugu now has an extended VHF coverage on 127.3MHz frequency for Lagos-South East sector.

Speaking on the gains of the latest installation, Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, who happily noted that radio communication along the Lagos South-East sector has improved tremendously, said the installation of the VHF radio in Enugu is “particularly significant as the city is strategically located to accommodate over six routes, both local and international.

“Enugu, being on a higher latitude, can cover for Manfe entry/exit reporting point in Cameroon for international flights like Ethiopian Airlines, Rwanda Airlines, Kenya Airways, South Africa Airways and the like.”

The NAMA boss revealed that the new installation has provided Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTN) link that would enhance effective data communication for transmission of flight plans, NOTAMs and Aeronautical Communication messages, just as it has provided effective coordination between Enugu tower and Lagos Area Control Centre through the ATS/DS (Air Traffic Services/Direct Speech) for departing and arriving traffic ahead of time.

The airport was closed in August last year for the reconstruction of its runway, upgrade of infrastructure and landing aids.

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who is working assiduously to ensure work is completed at the airport, assured that it would be reopened before Easter celebration.