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Airtraffic communicators decry dearth of trained, licensed personnel in airports

By Wole Oyebade   |   07 October 2016   |   1:24 am

Airtraffic communicators have decried the gross shortage of trained and licensed manpower to effectively handle operations in airports across the country.

The communicators, under the aegis of National Airtraffic Communicators Association of Nigeria (NACAN), said they are only 97 trained and licensed personnel nationwide, servicing the 24 functional airports.

President of the association, George Nkambo, at the fourth edition of NACAN yearly general meeting, said the personnel were grossly inadequate to ensure proper exchange of air traffic service messages between aircrafts coming into the country and radar or area control.

Nkambo noted that while the 2016 Hajj operations lasted, there were no officers to offer the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) services in some airports like Dutse, Bauchi and Birmin Kebbi. That was the case because “there has been no employment into the department between 1989 and 2012, a period of 23 years, and account for the acute manpower shortage.”

While he acknowledged efforts of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) that converted some will personnel for the purpose, the president urged NAMA management to approve their basic training at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, for the converted officers to be properly integrated into the mainstream to boost the acute manpower shortage in the department.

Nkambo said further that NAMA, as an air navigation service provider, has the responsibility of rendering its task with high sense of professionalism but sad to note that certain elements in the agency were hell bent to merge two operational departments – Aeronautical Telecommunications (COMMS) and Aeronautical Information Service (AIS).

He reiterated that the departments have distinct functions as outlined by Annexes of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

According to him, “The department is constantly threatened by this monster to the extent that all mandatory local and foreign courses ought to have been attended for current and provision of safety service to the flying public have been put on hold for more than five years now even when budgetary allocation are made annually for this.

“I appeal to the leadership of NAMA on behalf of the association and indeed, the entire department to do something fast in order for the profession to concentrate on offering aeronautical fixed service responsibilities,” he said.

Director of Human Resources at NAMA, Dr. Akason Uwen, also recognized the importance of NACAN members to airlines operations, especially with the importance of proper communication and data.

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