NAMA upgrades communication at Enugu airport, installs VSAT, VHF systems
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), has disclosed plans to install Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) station, and Very High Frequency (VHF) radio systems at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The Guardian learned that the installation, beginning this week, was part of the measures to end blind spots in the eastern corridor of the Nigerian airspace.
Some pilots had recently complained that they “fly blind and deaf” in some parts of the airspace with no communication whatsoever. For instance, when it rains in Lagos, they often lose radio communications after 200 nautical miles away, which is dangerous to safe operations.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, however, said the installation of the VSAT and VHF equipment would enhance upper airways communication along the South East corridor using 127.3MHz radiofrequency.
Akinkuotu said the agency’s determination to totally eliminate blind spots from the upper airspace informed these recent deployments.
“We have seen improvement along the North East corridor that we tackled lately in Jos, and we are determined to see that communication is 5/5 in the entire airspace.
“If you can communicate just once instead of five times, the person at the receiving end understands you and is happy just as you are happy.
“If we can get better radios with good clarity, it will lessen the burden and make the job easier for both the air traffic controller and the pilot,” he said.
Akinkuotu also implored controllers to imbibe good work ethics and strive for professionalism even as he urged them to support initiatives of the agency such as the implementation of sectorisation.
He also promised to address concerns raised by controllers bordering on work tools, staff training, and welfare among others.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, also pledged that the Buhari administration would continue to partner with air traffic controllers, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure safe skies for the country.
Also in his remarks, the Director of Operations, Mathew Pwajok, itemised some of the achievements of the agency under his directorate to include sectorisation of Lagos Area Control operations into East and West sectors, reactivation of search and rescue operations, training of different categories of critical staff as well as licensing and rating of qualified air traffic controllers.
Earlier in his address, President of NATCA, Abayomi Agoro, drew attention to some of the problems affecting air traffic controllers such as shortage of critical manpower, unavailability of a special fund for ATC training, aging communication facilities, delay in the approval of air traffic controllers’ new scheme of service etc.
He enumerated the achievements of his executive to include the recent ATC-Pilot interactive forum, held in Lagos, as well as the induction of newly-rated controllers targeted at inculcating high ethical standards and professional competence in members.