AIS automation: officers frown on lip service by management, appeal for action

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Dignitaries at the AIS event

The officers of the Aeronautical Information Service in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA say they are not working at optimal capacity because of the non-automation of the AIS system.

The officers say despite the importance of the automated system to flight safety of aircraft in the nations airspace, efforts being made by the concerned authorities is very slow, alleging that lip service is being paid to the realization of this project.

President, AISAN, Mr. Babatunde Shittu said the duties of the AIS which includes the collation, analysis,processing, formatting of aeronautical information before disseminating it to pilots before embarking on flights have become difficult due to the manual process of doing the job.

He said if the system was automated, pilots would be able to get information real- time onboard their aircraft even if in flight thereby eliminating the manual process and relieving the AIS officers of undue stress.

Shittu said,” we are appealing to the government to speedy up the AIS automation process, it has been on for over 10 years now, other countries of the world even in Africa like Kenya, South Africa and many others have long gone past the automation of AIS, what we are talking about here is a software and this software is very important and without the software of the safe landing of an aircraft is dangerous”

In a one-day lecture organized by AIS officers in the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos on the use of the AIS in the cockpit, the guest lecturer, Captain Edemeka Umoh said the importance of AIS in a safe flight operations cannot be over-emphasized.

He stressed that the data provided by the AIS help pilots to make good judgement and 95% decisions during flights.
He said,”AIS enhances safety, improve situational awareness, better economics, better alternate airports planning, reduces aircraft maintenance and reduces pilot cockpit workload”
” it makes the job of the industry easier because of the provision of accurate data” he added.

Captain Umoh observed that the way forward for the 21st century AIS officers is on the job training which he called skills development, upgrade of AIS service delivery, automation of AIS to AIM and for the AIS to be upgraded to a directorate level.

Earlier in her address, chairperson, AIS MMIA, Mrs Titilayo Ayinde said the AIS ensures that aeronautical data and aeronautical information necessary for safety, regularity or efficiency of air navigation are made available in firm suitable for operational requirements of the air traffic management(ATM) community including those involved in flight operations, including flight crews, flight planning and flight simulators.

She called on the concerned authorities to see AIS as one of the most important pillars of safe and efficient air navigation, adding that, ” it is a fundamental element without which modern flying would be all but impossible”.

Representative form the Nigerian a Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Mr. Felix Anyanwu called on the AIS officers to avail themselves of training organized by ICAO to be abreast with amendments to the annexes.
He also stressed that an AIS without automation is going no where, adding that Nigeria was lagging behind in this regard.

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