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NATCA gives FG tips on creating safer airspace

ANTHONY OMOH
Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) has highlighted areas that should interest the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari stating that if they are looked into, it would create the much wanted safer airspace the country needs for air transport to thrive.
In a press statement signed by President Victor Eyaru and General Secretary,   Banji Olawode, the air traffic controllers called on the President to appoint credible persons to steer the industry but stated that Aviation deserves more careful attention since its operations are safety critical and has witnessed colossal rot in the past.

President Muhammed Buhari

The group said that the critical areas of the aviation sector that needed looking into include reconstruction of the Lagos Central Taxiway, a second Abuja runway, a backup for the TRACON system as well as rehabilitation of airport facilities.
According to NATCA the taxiway has been out of use for more than six years leading to usage of Eastern taxiway whenever only Runway 18L/36R is available for landing and takeoff, the group also said that  ground collusions have been recorded whenever wide bodied aircraft make use of the Eastern taxiway
The statement in part read,” Lagos Central Taxiway: This taxiway has been out of use for more than six years due to abandonment of the reconstruction work on the taxiway. This has led to only the usage of Eastern taxiway whenever only Runway 18L/36R is available for landing and takeoff. “
“Aircraft accidents on ground have been recorded more than twice whenever wide bodied aircraft make use of the Eastern taxiway. The most recent was at 2045 UTC on the 6th of July, 2015 when the Emirate’s aircraft B777 flight UAE784 ran into parked Hak Airline’s aircraft on the apron when FAAN Electrical department switched off lights on the longer Runway 18R/36L for maintenance.”
“The un-serviceability of the same Eastern Taxiway has prevented aircraft from accessing the only Compass Swing available in the airport. We call on government to urgently fix this taxiway to prevent avoidable aircraft accidents on ground and to increase the capacity of the airport.”
On the TRACON, the group said it is unfortunate that none of the Radar Facilities within the Nigeria’s airspace has any form of backup stating that in time of any failures or major maintenance work , Air Traffic Controllers revert to the less efficient procedural (non-radar) system of control which invariably increases traffic delay and losses to airline operators.
 “The Association and its members will be grateful if redundancies could be procured for the Radar equipment by the Federal Government as it is the global best practice. Efforts should also be geared towards activating other important components of the Radar equipment and timely completion of the ongoing AIS Automation and CPDLC projects. Government should not also lose sight of replacing the present Radar equipment with more modern ones before attaining its expiration.  “
The group also called for training stating that there is a shortage of Air Traffic Controllers
“About 300 Air Traffic Controllers under the employment of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) are barely 50% of the number required to optimally man the Nigeria’s airspace. These few ones have been witnessing dearth of statutory trainings in the past three years due to paucity of fund as well as the embargo placed on foreign trainings by Federal Government. “
“Many of these very important trainings are not presently available at Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria or anywhere in the country.  The number of Air Traffic Controllers at Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria is grossly inadequate while Accident Investigation Bureau cannot boast of any Air Traffic Controller in its employment. “
“Similarly, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority cannot be said to have enough Controllers. 

To sustain and improve on the level of air safety within the airspace, the Association appeals to the Federal Government to assist in facilitating trainings in areas like Radar Control, Performance Based Navigation, Aeronautic Search and Rescue, Procedure & Airspace Design, Safety Management Systems and many others that are either aborted midway or have gone moribund for years.  To say the least, more Air Traffic Controllers should be recruited urgently and trained to reduce the gaps already created in the interest of air safety. “

About anthony omoh

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I am a Journalist with a passion for developmental stories and nigerianflightdeck.com was born out of passion for reporting the travel, business and aviation sub-sector. This site is an expression of my ideals and creativity as a reporter and my discretion as a publisher. I am extremely content doing this and I am sure when you read my stories you’d understand that I touch people and that’s why

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