1 February 2013

Nigeria: NAMA Unveils VHF Radio Service for Airspace

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has announced plans to introduce the newly completed VHF radio service to improve communication in the airspace.

The agency also said it would kick off 24 hours service at the Owerri, Yola and Enugu airports from March this year.

Managing Director of NAMA Nnamdi Udoh, who disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja, explained that the new services were made possible because the runway of these airports would have full installation of airfield lighting before the targeted date.

Udoh said the agency would negotiate with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and airline operators wishing to operate night flights at the airports.

He said: "The reason while I think there is nothing wrong in the agency creating 24 hours operation in these airports is because if you are coming late, you pay NAMA money but if I make it 24 hours, I want to think that more airlines will come and pay us more money. So we are declaring 24 hours service for these airports because we want to provide manpower, we want to make more airlines to fly into the airports. So it will not be like the present situation where airlines end flights by 6:00 pm, which puts airlines under pressure to land and leave the airports as quickly as possible before the closing time. We are going to make all these airports 24 hours from March when the manpower is available"

According to him, there would be Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued for the airports, adding that critical airports are Yola, Owerri and Enugu.

"We want to do that so that the airlines can schedule their operations. We will talk with them and find out which airport they want and any airport any operator wants will be available 24 hours. There is no point keeping it open and we don't use it because most of those airports run on diesel", Udoh explained.

On the issue of communications, the NAMA boss said that any possible hiccups that might be experienced by pilots would be due to the transition from the old system to the Total VHF Coverage of the airspace, to ensure that every part of Nigeria's airspace was covered by communication.

"Today, the total VHF Coverage has been completed. We are just transiting from the old technology, switching from one old system until finally everybody will smile because whatever issues in communication that we have will be eliminated", he added.

According to Udoh the Automatic Dependent Broadcast System ADBS would be installed in the oceanic areas and in Niger Delta for Helicopters operations to ensure security at the littoral states.

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