Former President, Nigeria Air Traffic Controllers Association, NATCA, Mr. Victor Eyaru has called for massive recruitment of controllers to address the dearth of manpower in air traffic control in the country’s airports.
This is just as he also called for adequate training of ATC personnel critical for seamless air navigation.
Mr. Eyaru who served as Airspace Manager at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA Lagos, who made the call in an interview with aviation reporters in Lagos said, the air traffic control had grown and workers were needed to be engaged for effective and flexible use of the airspace.
The former NATCA President who retired last year after 35 years of service in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, while applauding some improvements in communication with the restructuring of the Air Traffic Control into East and West sectors, said the problem was yet to be full addressed as the communications system was still one sided.
According to him, the restructuring of the airspace, had reduced the stress of both the controllers and pilots to an extent.
“There is room for improvement and things have improved a little but not the way the controllers would have wanted it to be, some side the communication is perfect but on the other side, communication is epileptic”.
On facilities for seamless take offs and landings of aircraft at the MMIA Lagos, Mr. Eyaru said all the facilities including the Instrument Landing Systems, ILS, have all been calibrated preparatory for the harmattam weather, adding that they did not envisage any problem with the work done.
He however called on FAAN to upgrade its runway lightings to Category 3 from Category 2 for the effective function of NAMA landing aids.
On personnel training, Mr. Eyaru called on the NAMA Management to mapped out the various trainings for the ATC personnel this year and tailor such trainings to achieve its aims.
“Try to ensure that the staff that is at traffic controllers get the appropriate training, two, the appropriate equipment to work with because without the training and their equipment to work with, it will be too difficult a thing to do as an air traffic controller”.
“Personnel can never be enough for now and that is why you see controllers retiring and they are engaged as contract controllers. Until there is massive recruitment of controllers, we still be grappling with the issue of man power shortage in ATC”.
He lamented that the COVID-19 pandemic had deprived the controllers of their international trainings while local trainings had been done through ZOOM.