NIGCOMSAT, Thales Alenia Space Renew Agreement on NIGCOMSAT-1R

NIGCOMSAT, Thales Alenia Space Renew Agreement on NIGCOMSAT-1R

Emma Okonji

Following the success achieved during the joint Satellite Based Augmentation System flight demonstration carried out early this year by NIGCOMSAT Limited and Thales Alenia Space (TAS), a renewed joint venture agreement between the two parties has been signed in faraway Toulouse, France for the development of Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS).

With the Joint venture agreement, NIGCOMSAT will provide access to the payload on NigComSat-1R to Thales Alenia Space for the SBAS signal in Africa.

The Managing Director, NIGCOMSAT Limited, Tukur Mohammed Lawal who was pleased with the agreement, said it has opened another chapter of business opportunity for NIGCOMSAT Ltd and called on stakeholders in the aviation and non-aviation sectors in the country and Africa at large to optimise this opportunity for the growth of economy in the continent.   

Lawal recalled that NIGCOMSAT had demonstrated a flight using Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA’s) King 350i aircraft with ANGA (Augmented Navigation for Africa) Signal-in-Space (SIS), provided via NigComSat 1R, which took place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, witnessed by a contingent from Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and MadagascarASECNA), EC DG-DEFIS; representatives of AON , AFON, SatNAv Africa JPO; representatives from Ministries, Departments and Agencies including Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy; Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development and prominent aviation stakeholders from 54 African countries among others. 

The Project Manager, SBAS Dr. Lasisi Salami Lawal, stated that with the real SBAS flightdemonstration carried within Nigerian airspace,  ‘we were able to witnessed a high level of precision on guiding the aircraft laterally in take-off, aligning on the takeoff track and also on initial climb and also on inbound track approached the airport for landing’.

The SBAS is an aviation-grade safety of life (SoL) satellite based navigation enabling reliability with integrity  as well as high accuracy in positioning.

According to him, the technology is a ‘game changer for aviation improving flight safety and efficiency while ensuring better user experience as a means of navigation decreasing CO2 emission with fuel consumption reduction. 

He said it would also contribute effectively in the non-aviation sector applications such as precision Agriculture, Land and Maritime Transport, inland waterways navigation, Rail Safety, Oil and Gas, Drone navigation, Mapping/ Cadastral Survey and Mass Market Applications in Location Based Services (LBS), Secured Time Transfer and synchronization in smart power transmission and distribution systems, telecommunications system networks especially 5G networks that requires precision in microseconds timing beyond what GNSS networks can offer.

FAAN’s Aviacargo Team Visits Addis Ababa, Nairobi Airports

Chinedu Eze

In order to grow air freighting of cargo in Nigeria, a team led by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Kabir Mohammed, visited the leading air cargo airports in Africa to benchmark their services.

Nigeria agriproduce is in high demand in Europe, the US and other parts of the world but Nigeria has mot maximized the freighting of these perishables, which can only be moved by air, a business worth millions of dollars.

According to a statement from the team, Kenya currently leads Africa in air cargo business while Nigeria is number five. FAAN set up the Aviacargo Roadmap committee to design a plan that will lift Nigeria to the first position in the shortest possible time.

To meet this target,  FAAN team had to find out what the other airports have done well and why Nigeria is failing despite its huge economy, production capacity and population. The benchmarking visits done in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) enabled the officials from Nigeria to engage with stakeholders in the cargo ecosystems in both countries. There were facility tours of equipments, terminals and transit sheds in both countries.

The FAAN team was led by the Director of Commercial and Business Development Olumyiwa Femi-Pearse. It included Chief of Staff to the MD, staff of Business Development, Cargo Departments, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, the Coordinator of the Aviacargo Roadmap committee Ikechi Uko and 2 other members of the Aviacargo committee.

The team said legal issues concerning airports as free trade zones were raised with the Ethiopian and Kenyan officials and how those issues have been resolved in both countries. The proliferation and attendant charges by agencies at the airports were discussed during the stakeholders engagements with both the government and private sector players.

The team went through a detailed tour of all the air cargo facilities available at Bole Airport Addis Ababa. The tour was led by the MD of Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Mr. Abel Alemu and his team. It included tours to the Cold Chain, pharma, perishable and dry goods section. The technological modernisation and the E-Commerce projects were of Interest to the Nigerian team.

In Kenya, the Nigerian team was received by the acting Managing Director of the Kenya Airport Authority Henry Ogoye. The Nigerian team were taken round the leading cargo transit sheds by the operators of the terminals. They visited dry cargo sheds, perishable goods sheds, flower export sheds, fruit export sheds and others. The Aviacargo team rounded up the tour with visits to Nigerian Embassies in Ethiopia and Kenya where they exchanged ideas with the diplomats on opportunities for cargo in both countries.

The team was received at the Nigerian Embassy in Addis Ababa by Dr. Geoffrey Chima on behalf of the Ambassador. The team leader Mr. Femi-Pearse told the Nigerian High Commissioner in Kenya Ambassador Yusuf Yunusa that “this fact-finding visit is an eye opener for Nigeria. We have identified the gaps in knowledge and facilities. We are going back to implement some of the lessons learnt. Nigeria will become a major player in air cargo business in a very short time.”

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