NAMA upgrades search, rescue facility as airspace reopens tomorrow
Ahead of the planned resumption of flights tomorrow, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) yesterday upgraded the search and rescue equipment to boost aeronautical services nationwide.
The agency, following the arrival of the new equipment, has begun the distribution of plotting and communication facilities, medical supplies and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) documents, among others, to the nation’s rescue coordination centres in Lagos and Kano, and rescue sub-centres in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Enugu, Ilorin and Sokoto.
The apex regulatory body, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), earlier said it would only grant approval to the airlines and service providers that were fully ready to operate on July 8.
NAMA, as part of getting set, distributed plotting equipment like workstations for digital plotting, and topographical maps for manual plotting. Communication equipment include very high frequency (VHF) radios, high frequency (HF) radios, megaphones as well as search and rescue dedicated satellite telephones which can work outside a network area.
The ICAO documents include IAMSAR Manual Volume 1, 2 and 3 as well as Annex 12 search and rescue preparation manual. Other items procured include multifunctional photocopiers, laptops, printers, professional torchlights, status boards, computer desktops and personal locator beacons.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said the agency took steps to procure the equipment to enhance its preparedness and efficiency in search and rescue coordination in the event of any occurrence, especially given that the airports were about to be reopened for commercial activities.
“For instance the workstations which came with software applications for digital and faster plotting will aid our personnel in precisely locating where an incident or accident occurred,” he said.
In addition to the facility upgrade, the agency recently recruited experienced search mission coordinators to be on 24-hour watch at both the rescue coordination centres and rescue sub-centres.
Akinkuotu said the dedicated telephone numbers and email addresses of the search and rescue centres had been published in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).
“So, having beefed up the capacity of the search and rescue unit, NAMA is more prepared than ever before in terms of human capacity as well as equipment upgrade.”