NAMA set for automated air traffic systems, says Pwajok

Nigeria’s busiest aerodrome, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) says plans are underway to ensure an automated system that will enhance capacity and provide efficient safety in air traffic management in the country.

The Acting Managing Director of NAMA, Matthew Pwajok, said this when he featured in a Forum at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja.

According to Pwajok, the increased demand for air travel in the country had made it imperative to increase the services provided and facilities that would enhance safety of flight operations nationwide.

He said: “And so our strategic plan or our road map is to be able to provide improved capacity of the air traffic management system.

“And by that we mean, our control towers, our area control centres, our control units that provide guidance for flight that provide support for safety and efficiency of flight are expanded to be able to accommodate the expected growth in traffic.

“The International Civil Aviation Organisation predicted that every 15 years, there is a doubling, a 100 per cent increase in flight operations and movement of flights.

“So we did a 15 year prediction to 2030, a national plan from 2015 to 2030 incorporating various strategic programmes that will enhance navigation that will enhance the communication system.

That will enhance surveillance systems that will enhance air traffic management systems as well as search and rescue aeronautical information management systems. So, the bottom line is, our strategy is to provide automated systems.”

He disclosed that NAMA has been using a procedural or manual system in the past that took a lot of time and increased workload for the air traffic controllers.

But with the automated system, he said workload, errors and inaccuracy would be reduced, and also enhance the integrity of the information provided to pilots.

“The strategy is to automate our systems for communication, for navigation, for surveillance, for air traffic management systems and for search and rescue as well as air space planning.

“We have a couple of projects that we have scheduled and some of them are already being implemented.

“What we want to achieve is what I will refer to as an automated air traffic management system from gate-to-gate. From the departure gate to the arrival gate,” he said.

We did a 15 year prediction to 2030; a national plan from 2015 to 2030 incorporating various strategic programmes that will enhance navigation that will enhance communication systems.

Radar control

Pwajok said this would ensure provision of surveillance/radar control from the packing gate to the runway for departure/take-off, for air road flight and arrival at the destination airport.

He said: “And by this I mean we have total radar control, we are implementing what we call surface movement radar and ground control, a surveillance system that will be able to see aircraft on the ground.

“The existing radar system that we have, which has been in existence since 2010 provides for guidance of aircraft in flight, but we are in the process of implementing in Lagos and Abuja, surface movement radar.

“A radar system that will pick aircraft and vehicles on the surface of the airport or what we call the manoeuvring area, guide this aircraft from the packing gate all the way to the runway for take-off.

“So the whole concept is a gate-to-gate automated air traffic management system that will enhance the safety and efficiency of flight operations.”

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