NAMA set for automated air traffic systems, says Pwajok

By Adaku Walter

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

Acting Managing Director of NAMA, Matthew Pwajok, made this known when he featured in a forum of the _News Agency of Nigeria_ (NAN) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 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.

“Our strategic plan is to be able to provide improved capacity of the air traffic management system. By that we mean, our control towers, area control centers and 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 Organization (ICAO) predicted that every 15 years, there is a doubling (100 per cent increase) in flight operations and movement of flights.

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

“In our estimation, 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 said.

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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.

Pwajok added that with the automated system, workload, errors and inaccuracies would be reduced, while the integrity of the information provided to pilots would be enhanced.

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

“We are implementing surface movement radar and ground control, a surveillance system that will be able to see aircraft on the ground. The existing radar system, which has been in existence since 2010 provides for guidance of aircraft in flight, but we are in the process of implementing surface movement radar in Lagos and Abuja.

“A radar system that will pick aircraft and vehicles on the surface of the airport or what we call the maneuvering area, guide this aircraft from the packing gate all the way to the runway for takeoff. So the whole concept is a gate-to-gate automated air traffic management system that will enhance the safety and efficiency of flight operations,” he added.

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