NIGERIAN Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is saving a total of N1.5B for discontinuing maintenance from the manufacturers of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project and engaging the services of the agency’s indigenous engineers.This is just as the agency is advocating funds for the upgrade of its radar facilities to meet the global standard
NAMA was revealed to have been paying N1.7B for the maintenance of the facility by its manufacturers, Thales of France whose services has been discontinued after the expiry of its contract for the maintenance of the facility for the past two years.
The acting managing director of NAMA, Engr Emmanuel Anasi who disclosed this while briefing members of the House committee on Aviation led by Hon Nkeiruka Onyejiocha, said the installers of the facility left two year ago having trained their Nigerians counterparts on the radar maintenance.
Anasi applauded the engineers but disclosed that the agency needed more funds to enable it upgrade the TRACON system to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO standards and systems migrate to new technology aimed at harmonizing its activities.
According Anasi, nothing was wrong with the TRACON but explained that some of the systems were not included when the radar was installed because of the technology available at the time of conceptualization and installation.
“We are doing well, I am not saying that we have gotten there but we keep on improving. Radar is working, the contract for its maintenance by its manufacturers expired two years ago but our engineers have kept it working but we need assistance because some of the systems need upgrades.”
“We say upgrades and not an extension of the maintenance contract. Upgrade because we have to deploy International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard technology so our system will be compatible with other systems.”
“As the radar stands it cannot work with the AIS, we need to upgrade the radar to work with the AIS and other third-party technology, it needs to meet the current technology.”
He noted that well equipped facilities will further reduce work load on the Air Traffic Controllers.
The NAMA boss said the country’s Airspace remained very safe and working towards improving the system.
He announced that a team of NAMA engineers were presently in Maiduguri working on the voice communication to enhance communication between the pilot and Controllers.
House committee on Aviation chairman, Hon Nkeiruka Onyejiocha while responding to NAMA’s needs asked the acting managing director why they are advocating said funds if they have been saving money from their appropriation and said they should have used the funds to start their upgrade.
However, Anasi explained to her that the funds were not in the agencies purse as they would still need the federal government to approve for them.