Air traffic controllers seek release of N6bn approved for procurement of aviation equipment

The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association, NATCA, on Monday called for the urgent release of the N6 billion approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for the procurement of aviation equipment.

Victor Eyaru, President, NATCA, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

Mr Eyaru noted that the plan to procure the navigational aids which include Instrument Landing System, ILS, and Aeronautic Information System, AIS, at some major airports was a welcome development.

He, however, maintained that the government should demonstrate the political will to execute the projects by promptly releasing the approved funds.

According to him, some airports in Nigeria, due to their frequency of flight operations, were in dire need of upgrade in terms of navigational aids.

He said: “The importance of the ILS is obvious because if you have category three, the aircraft can land under low visibility.

“However, one thing is for the airports to have their own aids on ground but another thing is for the aircraft to be equipped to be able to fly that navigational aids.

“Most of our domestic operators cry foul about airports not having modern navigation aids but their aircraft are not even equipped to fly with these modern navigation systems. The foreign airlines are happy with it because their aircraft are equipped to fly it.’’

Mr Eyaru said the ATCs did not require any special training for the implementation of the ILS, stressing that they only needed training on Performance Based Navigation, PBN, which is done through simulation exercises.

He also called on the government to address the issue of lack of ATC personnel in the country by carrying out periodic recruitment and training of new recruits.

NAN reports that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had recently announced that the approval for the procurement of the equipment was granted after the presentation of two memos to the FEC.

Mr Sirika said N2.58 billion was approved for AIS that would give accurate information to pilots and aviators.

He said to provide ILS in the country against harsh weather conditions, the council also approved N1.18 billion to upgrade the airports in Lagos and Abuja to category three.

Mr Sirika said N1.17 billion was approved to upgrade airports in Akure and Benin to category two, adding that the contract had a completion period of 20 weeks.