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NAMA to boost workforce, upgrade airspace facilities


Murtala Airport Lagos

Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs), yesterday, heaved a sigh of relief as the authorities pledged to employ more workers, and upgrade airspace facilities nationwide.

The controllers, at the commemoration of this year’s international day of ATCs, had bemoaned perennial issues in the Nigerian airspace and its management.

The group said very little had changed in terms of safety concerns, inadequate and untrained workforce, among other problems facing the critical sector of aviation. They urged the Federal Government and the Ministry of Aviation to do more in terms of routine training of controllers and upgrade of facilities, to enhance safety of flights and air travellers.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said the agency had concluded plans to employ more controllers to reduce the stress of overstretched workers.

Akinkuotu, at a forum in Kano, explained that the agency was working tirelessly to improve the welfare of workers and upgrade of facilities for optimal performance.

He added that NAMA was in the process of commencing multilateration in the Gulf of Guinea in order to capture low level aircraft in that region.

He said the emergence of drones was a challenge in the industry, as he charged aviators to rise up to the challenges posed by its emergence.

Akinkuotu said further that the Lagos area was sectorised in order to enhance safety, adding that the agency was hoping to conclude the AIS automaton before the end of the year.

The president of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Abayomi Agoro, earlier called on the Federal government to tackle series of problems facing members of the association and NAMA.

Agoro said the problems include acute shortage of critical manpower, acquisition of new surveillance system and upgrade of present TRACON system to serve as back up and to address the dearth of special fund for ATC training.

Others are the epileptic and unreliable communication equipment and the belated lingering approval of ATC new scheme of service to address the perpetual misunderstanding and unnecessary frictions capable of jeopardising the work between ATCs and others.

He said NATCA, being mindful of the enormous responsibilities placed on its shoulders, there was need to consolidate the much needed synergy between Pilots and ATCs in order to further improve safety of the flying public.

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