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NAMA restructures the aviation industry

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By Mercy Kelani

Nigeria rose from the United States FAA category 2 status to category 1.

Once upon a time, the Nigerian airspace was under the category of one of the worst in Africa, giving a horrible depiction of the history of Aviation in the country, and also as a result of the plane crashes between 1999 and 2005. During this period, the consecutive accidents of ADC, Sosoliso, and Bellview brought about a declaration of emergency in the aviation sector. However, things took a new turn upon the appointment of Dr. Harold Olusegun Demuren with the assistance of other aviation ministers.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was able to tackle the difficulties affecting modern aviation regulations in conjunction with global standards. During the regime of Dr. Demuren, Nigeria was able to progress from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category two status to Category one status, making Nigeria one of the top countries in the global aviation sector. Arik Air was the major Airline that helped Nigeria attain the category one status as at that time with its designation to many destinations across the world, including New York.

NAMA provides navigation safety tools & tackles challenges.

While other agencies – the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) – are enabling the fast-paced progress of the aviation industry, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) functions at lower pace as it is usually slow to tackle aviation challenges in Security aspects. It has been discovered that the agency is unable to function in the same pace as the others because it handles a lot of airports with only four of them generating the highest Revenue for the maintenance of 30 aerodromes.

However, of the two fast-paced aviation agencies, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) stands out due to the excellent work of previous Chief Executive Officers. The current Managing Director of NAMA has also made the tackling of difficulties easier due to the availability of modern and seamless navigation safety tools. Prior to the provision of these navigation tools, the navigational facilities were seen as threats to air travelers due to their gross inadequacy. This situation left the sector in a sorry state as it was wallowing in neglection, Corruption and poor planning.

Pilots used to complain of lack of effective radio communication coverage.

Pilots complained bitterly at this poor condition as it got worse to the extent that communication became difficult through the control tower due to lack of effective radio communication coverage. The sorry state of the controller or pilot VHF communication coverage of the Nigerian airspace was so visible that pilots resented the fact that the same navigational aids that worked perfectly in countries like Ghana, Togo and Sao Tome could not work in Nigeria. Nonetheless, with strategic planning between NAMA and the Ministry of Aviation, the Nigerian airspace is better with Investment of about N30 billion ($12.9 million) for airspace Architecture.

NAMA was able to control this situation by noting the complaints of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and highlighting the many ongoing and completed projects for ensuring safety, efficiency, capacity and environment in all airports in the country. There was also a deployment of a traffic sequencing manager at Lagos and Abuja, with an automatic clearance delivery system and scheduled completion in December 2021 and Wide Area Multilateration Surveillance System for the Gulf of Guinea’s low-flying helicopters in February 2022.

New procurements & renovations in the sector improved Nigerian airspace.

Many other implementations include the acquirement of new mobile control towers for Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt; automation and completion of the Katsina control tower and Zaria control tower in September and October 2020 respectively; acquirement of flight calibration aircraft; renovation of the Safe Tower Project at Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt; recruitment of forty Air Traffic Control cadets; renovation and reconditioning of the Total Radar Coverage (TRACON); and successful implementation of Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) in 32 airports.


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