ACTING Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency ( NAMA) Mr. Mathew Lawrence Pwajok has said the fixing of runway lights at 18L/ 36R of the Murtala Muhammed Airport is a necessary evil as it will provide an alternative for airlines at night incase the International runway 18R/36L is not operational.
Mr Pwajok made this known while speaking at the 26th Annual League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Conference themed Sunset Airports: Safety and Economic Implications.
According to him, Nigeria will be better off once the lighting on the domestic runway is complete.
Speaking on the journey so far to restore Runway 18L/36R to standard, he said,”It has been very strenuous but it is also something that we have done before in Lagos when the international runway itself was closed and we had to use the local runway, shorter one.
“We developed new procedures, developed contingency plans and we work collaboratively with sister agencies and the operators. It has been strenuous but we are doing it and we are doing it well at the moment.
“There were initial delays but now I think we are on top of it. And it’s something we had to do. We have been anxiously waiting for the lighting systems on Runway 18L. It is something that is a necessary evil, we have to shut down and work on it to have it a very good runway.
” It is very important so that if you have problem with the international runway, you have something to use at night. The way we have been operating using only one runway at night means if we have problem with the international runway, it means we can’t use any other runway and I think everybody is collaborating to make sure that we can all endure it and at the end of it, Nigeria will be better off and Lagos will be better off.”
On the agency’s focus for now, Pwajok stressed that NAMA aims to complete some very safety critical and essential projects like the Safe Tower Project, which will enhance capacity of the system.
He said,”Our basic attention or focus at the moment has been to complete some very critical and essential projects about safety and enhancing capacity of the system. And this projects include the Safe Tower.”
“The Safe Tower was done in 2007 and is needed to be upgraded. So we are embarking on the software and hardware upgrade of this safe tower project which provides an automated air traffic management system for Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt. It is a very critical project, spanned 8 years capacity and enhanced the efficiency of the air traffic management system.”
He also mentioned the total radar coverage (TRACON) upgrade.
“You are aware that TRACON was commissioned in 2010, over 10 years of using this system. We are upgrading it to the latest version called the top sky system and that project provides for enhancement of the efficiency in the capacity and the effectiveness of the total radar coverage of Nigeria in nine radar locations across Nigeria.
“That project is also very key, not only for safety but also security of the nation. We also have the navigational systems we are installing. At the moment, we have done over 10 airports with instrument landing systems category 2 and we have done instrument landing systems category 3 in Lagos and Abuja. We are currently doing Katsina, Port Harcourt and Kano.”