Monday , 3 October 2022
Captain Fola Akinkuotu

NAMA boss underscores import of human factor in ATM safety

  • Receives commendation from VA, signs MoU with Aireon LLC

MANAGING Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Capt. Fola Akinkuotu has described the role of human factor in Air Traffic Management safety as critical in the process of hazard identification and safety risk management.

This is just as the agency was commended for delivering expeditious air navigation services within the nation’s airspace by Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, through its Airport Manager, Justin Bell.

Akinkuotu who was a guest speaker and panelist at the just-concluded Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) Africa Conference and Safety Seminar which held in Marrakesh, Morocco listed the human factors to include environmental, organizational and job factors as well as individual characteristics, saying that all these have direct impact on the individual’s behavior and could affect health and safety.

Delivering a paper at the event with the title: Human Factor and Safety, Akinkuotu who was represented by the Legal Adviser, Mrs Anastasia Gbem, argued that the introduction of technology does not primarily aim at improving safety but “satisfying the demands for the increase in service delivery while maintaining existing margins of safety, stressing that “while the introduction of technology is an inevitable consequence of the needs of any mass production activity, its relevance in the management of safety cannot be overlooked.”

He said that in Air Traffic Management, any technological advances deployed to improve the system capacity, if not properly interfaced through adequate training and orientation would lead to operational error, and that “while these technologies are introduced to increase ATM capacities, the consequences of operational error caused by poor interface between systems and Air Traffic Control Officers outweighs the primary objective of mass production with the ultimate safety penalties.”

Akinkuotu charged Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in Africa to “continuously review work processes and procedures to further tighten the noose on vulnerability of mismatches in the interfaces between people and technology in order to effectively trap operational errors,” even as he tasked the executive leadership team to create a “zero-tolerance safety culture” to be embraced by all levels of the organization.

Meanwhile, the agency a letter of commendation addressed to the Managing Director, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, the Airport Manager of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, Justin Bell said the airline appreciates NAMA’s efficiency in ensuring seamless, smooth and timely movement of aircraft across the Nigerian airspace.

According to Bells letter, the flight control team in the United Kingdom also appreciated the agency for its excellence in air navigation service provision.

In a related development, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has given kudos to NAMA for its “diligence and astuteness” in the discharge of its duties. In a letter signed by the Asst. Director of Air Transport, Richard Pheelangwah on behalf of the Minister, Sirika advised the agency to “keep up” the good job it is doing in ensuring safety of air travel in the country.

All these commendations also came on the backdrop of the agency signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Aireon LLC of USA on exploring the deployment of space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system in Nigeria.

Capt. Akinkuotu who responded on this said the ADS-B solution which is a recognized next-generation standard for surveillance and air traffic management is a critical requirement in preparation for the implementation of the relevant elements of Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU).

Signing the MOU at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos, the NAMA boss who expressed optimism that the ADS-B solution would ensure 100% real-time surveillance coverage of the Nigerian airspace noted that management was committed to exploring every opportunity and relevant technology to ensure safety of air navigation in the country in compliance with world best practices and regulatory requirements.

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