Thursday, March 23, 2023

NAMA divides Lagos Area Control Centre to improve air traffic service

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA has successfully split the Lagos Sub-Flight Information Region, Sub-FIR airspace into two sectors to improve the quality of air traffic services in the country.

NAMA’s Managing Director, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, announced the development on Sunday in Lagos.

Akinkuotu disclosed that the two sectors were the Lagos West Area Control Centre on 120.9MHz radio frequency and Lagos East Area Control Centre on 127.3MHz frequency.

He said the sectorisation, which took off at exactly 00.01 on July 19, was a culmination of a two-year strategic plan to achieve sectored operations in the Lagos sub-FIR owing to the then congested single radio frequency enroute control operations.

He noted that though sectorisation of Lagos had eluded NAMA for over 16 years, its actualisation was due to the commitment and determination of the staff.

Akinkuotu said the sectorising of Lagos became imperative owing to the increasing volume of traffic and the attendant challenges posed to both pilots and air traffic controllers.

According to him, in a bid to achieve this feat, the agency has put in place several measures to ensure its effective takeoff.

He listed the measures to include the development of Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs and a test-run of the procedures at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria.

“Others are the in-house training of needed manpower to boost capacity in the two sectors, enhancement of the required support facilities for ground-ground and air-ground communication.

“The update of the radar maps and database of the radar system; test-run of the radar system and radio communication equipment.

“The issuance of an Aeronautical Information Publication, AIP supplement on May 9, to give airspace users 56 days notification as required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO and Part 14 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.

“Other milestones are the signing of Letters of Agreement with adjacent FIRs like Accra, Douala, and Lome; the signing of letters of procedures between Lagos-Abuja and Lagos-Port Harcourt.

“Development and publication of Nigerian enroute charts showing the delineation of the East and West airspace sectors and the conduct of safety assessment as well as a stakeholders’ forum,” Akinkuotu said in a statement.

He said that the immediate benefits of sectorisation included reduction in congestion on the available en-route control radio frequency, reduction of flight delays and reduction in fuel consumption.

Akinkuotu said other benefits were reduction in Carbondioxide, CO2 emission, as well as increasing Air Traffic Management (ATM) capacity.

He said sectorising the Lagos Area Control Centre, ACC would bring about optimum utilisation of the airspace by reducing controller-pilot workload, thereby increasing efficiency and quality of service delivery.

The managing director added that this would also provide functional air navigation services that would meet international standards at no cost to the users.

Akinkuotu said that as part of the process, two new procedural control flight progress boards with two controller working positions for the East and West sectors had been provided to ensure proper ergonomics at the Lagos Area Control Centre.

An air traffic management assessment of the Nigerian airspace was conducted in 1991 preparatory to the deployment of satellite communication system in the country.

There were studies that confirmed the need for a sectored operation in Lagos and Kano. While Kano was sectorised in 2001, that of Lagos was stalled due to insufficient ATC manpower and infrastructural gaps at that time. NAN

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