AUSTRIAN Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Thomas Schlesinger has lauded the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for provision of world class Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) systems at Nigerian international airports which has helped reduce the spate of unfortunate incidents of the early 2000s
He also said that by partnering Austrian Company, AVSATEL Communications Limited the air space managers have provided world class Air Traffic Management systems, Communication systems, Surveillance Monitors and Meteorological systems at Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Control Towers under the Safe Tower Project that automated the provision of air traffic services at the nation’s airports.
The Ambassador made these remarks during a courtesy visit to NAMA’s headquarters where he commended strives in the agency stating: “I am very humbled by your responsibility here because the lives of passengers and the lives of military personnel in flight rests in your hands. And that is something which we always have to be reminded of when you rightly recall the sad air accidents of 2005 and 2006 because at that time, you didn’t have this safety critical equipment that have now transformed the air navigation system in Nigeria.
“So, it is also very reassuring as private persons because we frequently sit in the airplanes whether in Nigerian planes or other international planes, and it’s good to know that our safety is guaranteed. And I’m very grateful, very grateful. I am very impressed by the beautiful work you are doing.”
Acting Managing Director of NAMA Mr. Pwajok Matthew Lawrence while addressing the Ambassador who was in company of the Embassy Secretary Ms. Antonia Bierbaumer and the Managing Director of AVSATEL Communications Mr. George Eder, commended AVSATEL for providing NAMA with a very effective and efficient equipment that has greatly enhanced safety in the Nigerian Airspace over the years.
Pwajok said, “AVSATEL provided us with one of the best equipment ever, I must confess. One of the very first projects that brought Nigeria to limelight internationally with the provision of automated or electronic air traffic management systems in our Control Towers in 2007. It will be recalled that Nigeria had previously recorded series of aircraft fatal accidents in 2005 and 2006 and the then government of Nigeria intervened through the Safe Tower project that included meteorological sensors for real-time weather reporting and Low Level Wind-shear Alerting Systems.
“The project provided Air Traffic Controllers with enhanced capacity through the electronic flight progress strip management system, as well as the accompanying voice communication and control system for ground-ground communication between air traffic control units and for air-ground communication between air traffic control and aircraft in flight.
“The integration of meteorological sensors that were deployed at the airside of these international airports under the safe tower project providing digital real time meteorological information has greatly enhanced air safety – the lack of these safety critical facilities was partly responsible for some of the weather-related air crashes in 2005 and 2006. It’s a fantastic project and when it was delivered in 2007, there was no country in Africa that had it and we are very proud to say that it was the first automated air traffic management Control Tower system in the whole of Africa.”
“The NAMA boss said the agency is statutorily responsible for the provision of air navigation services including air traffic services, aeronautical information services, aeronautical communication services, and aeronautical search and rescue services supported by the deployment of communication, navigation and surveillance infrastructure. He said the Agency is currently responsible for the provision these services and facilities at 40 federal, state and privately-owned airports, as well as at jointly used military airports.
The NAMA MD and his management team also took His Excellency on a tour of NAMA facilities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport. The facilities visited include the Abuja airport Control Tower where the safe tower equipment was first installed and currently undergoing soft and hardware system upgrade. His Excellency also visited the newly deployed ATC Mobile Control Tower for surface movement and ground control. His Excellency was also taken to the Abuja Radar complex where he was amazed with the intricacies of air traffic control and summed his visit as “a most memorable day in my life that I will never forget”
The NAMA MD rounded off the visit by highlighting some safety critical projects that have been completed or ongoing under the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari, including the successful installation of Instrument landing Systems Category III at Abuja and Lagos; successful installation of ILS Category II in 10 airports; successful installation of Doppler VORs in 10 airports; procurement of a new flight calibration aircraft; as well as ongoing deployment of Surface Movement Radar at Lagos and Abuja; Traffic Sequencing Arrival Manager and Departure Managers at Lagos and Abuja; ongoing installation of ILS Category III at Kano, Katsina and Port Harcourt; deployment of Wide Area Multilateration System in the Niger Delta and Upgrade of Total Radar Coverage nationwide, etc.