The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has assured stakeholders that the nation’s airspace remains one of the safest on the continent of Africa for air navigation.
Speaking while declaring open the demonstration of Aircraft e-Clearance User Acceptance Test Module to National Air Defence Corp, Security Agencies and other stakeholders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Ag. Managing Director of NAMA, Engr. Emma Anasi noted that the agency in the recent past has deployed sophisticated technology and navigational infrastructure intended to enhance efficiency in its operations as well as safety of air travel in the country, stressing that the deployment of Aircraft e-Clearance Solution was another innovation by NAMA to automate its operations and also ease the process of aircraft flight clearances which used to be very tedious and cumbersome in the past.
Engr. Anasi who was represented on the occasion by the Port Harcourt Airspace Manager, Mr Gabriel Akpen explained that the huge investment NAMA was making in automating its processes is in line with global best practices.
He therefore assured that the agency was ready to accommodate all the views and suggestions from stakeholders on how the system could be made to function better.
Earlier in his address, the Deputy General Manager, Aircraft Clearance Office, Mr Patrick Nebe recalled apart from its inherent vulnerability to manipulations detrimental to national security, the old system of manually granting aircraft clearances was fraught with other challenges such as unnecessary bureaucracy leading to loss of valuable time, stressing that the urgency with which some flights operate necessitated a quicker system of processing flight clearances for them.
Nebe also explained that the Aircraft e-Clearance Solution has inbuilt security and tracking device which helps users to keep track of their request for flight permit as well as the general aircraft movement within the nation’s airports.
The demonstration of Aircraft e-Clearance software to stakeholders which had earlier held in Lagos, Abuja and Kano centres has been lauded by stakeholders including Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, as a time-saving innovation.
Meanwhile, Anasi has also expressed determination of the agency to ensure a speedy completion of the Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) Automation project in view of the fact that AIS is the “live-wire of any air navigation system, as it ensures the safety, efficiency and regularity of air navigation through the exchange of accurate, timely and reliable information to airspace users.’’
Engr. Anasi disclosed this during this year’s World AIS Day celebration noting that in spite of initial challenges traceable to lack of funding and other technicalities, the project is back on course.
Engr. Anasi who was represented at the event by the General Manager, Safety Management Services, Mr Mathew Pwajok revealed that the first phase of automation shall become fully operational at 11 stations nationwide by the third quarter of 2016, adding that the ongoing global migration from terrestrial based navigation to satellite based navigation (i.e. Performance Based Navigation) needed a high level of accuracy and integrity of data required for safety, efficiency and economy of flight operations.
Earlier in an address, the President of the Aeronautical Information Services Association of Nigeria (AISAN), Mr Shittu Babatunde appealed to NAMA management to assist his organization in the area of personnel training, office accommodation and technical equipment.