Friday, 29th September 2023

Airspace agency assures airlines of night operations, facilities

By Wole Oyebade
02 August 2022   |   2:46 am
Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has reaffirmed that all airports nationwide have adequate facilities to support night operations.

Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has reaffirmed that all airports nationwide have adequate facilities to support night operations.

The agency, contrary to claims by operators, said all the airports have approach and landing navigational aids, as well as Satellite-Based and Performance-Based Navigation procedures that can enable safe landing at any time of the day.

Acting Managing Director of NAMA, Matthew Pwajok, at the 26th yearly conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) recently in Lagos, noted that the idea of tagging some airports in the country as “sunrise” or “sunset airports” was misplaced.

Pwajok said: “All airports in Nigeria have instrument landing facilities for approach and landing, meaning they are operating based on Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and not based on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) where the pilots are required to visually approach and land within Sunrise to Sunset time.”

“Apart from one or two private aerodromes, all federal and state government-owned airports managed by NAMA are equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS), except where they are temporarily unserviceable or the runway and approach lights are unserviceable, but nevertheless you cannot refer to them as sunrise or sunset airports,” he said.

The NAMA boss stated that the agency had invested heavily in navigational facilities more than any other facilities, adding that, “apart from Owerri and Calabar where the agency is working to install Category II (CAT II) Instrument Landing systems (ILS), and Jalingo that has no instrument landing system for now, basically all airports in Nigeria have a minimum of CAT II ILS, most of which were installed brand new, so there is nothing like obsolete navigational facilities.”

Pwajok to tackle visibility issues in some airports during adverse weather, the agency commenced the implementation of Category III ILS in Abuja and Lagos airports, while those of Katsina, Kano and Port Harcourt were being installed and would be ready before the end of 2022.

He noted that despite the high cost of diesel, the agency had always granted extended services to airlines “who made such requests” and would continue to do so.

He also assured airlines that search and rescue services are also provided by NAMA during the hours of extension as the agency collaborates with sister agencies, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other critical stakeholders, saying that as long as an airport remained open, search and rescue will be available for the period of operation.

The NAMA MD informed the gathering that NAMA is a 100 per cent self-funded government agency providing air navigation services at federal, state and private airports at increasing cost and is also required to remit 25 per cent of her gross revenue to the federation account.

Therefore, “it is uneconomical for the agency to operate beyond 12 hours daily at a domestic airport just for a single flight.”

He assured airline operators that NAMA has and would always grant an extension of operational hours when the need arises.