The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has assured airlines and other airspace users that the nation’s airspace is safe for seamless and economic air navigation.
Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu made these remarks recently in Lagos, explaining that the agency had taken drastic steps to tackle communication challenges especially in the upper airspace in the past couple of years, saying that significant progress was being made in that direction.
According to him, radio communication in the ground control, covering 65 nautical miles at the 32 air traffic control units in Nigerian airports is perfect and this was done under phase one of the project. He added that the second phase which is the tower control, also covering 65 nautical miles and critical for landing and takeoff, is perfectly working in all the 32 airports in the country.
The third phase which he referred to as “approach communication,” covering up to 130 nautical miles, according to him, is working perfectly in all the 32 air traffic control units in the country.
Capt. Akinkuotu admitted that although the last phase which is the Area Control or Upper Airspace Communication may have a few challenges, he attributed these to the creation of new routes.
Concerted efforts, he said were being made to address these challenges, one of which was the deployment of the Total VHF Coverage of Nigeria in 2010 which he said was limited by the architecture of 8 VHF remote radio stations deployed then, adding that the agency had just taken delivery of Extended Range VHF radio systems to replace old the radios in 8 remote sites while six more are to be added, making them 14 in number.
The NAMA boss said that in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU), which stipulates that Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) provide alternative means of communication, the agency in 2015 deployed the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract/Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (ADS-C/CPDLC) in Kano and Lagos Area Control Centres (ACCs) to decongest radio frequency, saying that the facility was up and running in the entire airspace.