Home Safety NATCA worried over dwindling revenue of NAMA, deplorable state of control towers

NATCA worried over dwindling revenue of NAMA, deplorable state of control towers

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NATCA president, Agoro Abayomi Omotayo

The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association, NATCA, has expressed concerned over the loss of revenue in foreign exchange by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA.

They attributed the loss to airlines avoiding the Nigerian airspace due to epileptic radio communication in air navigation.

President of NATCA, comrade Abayomi Agoro at an interactive forum between members of the body and Pilots under the aegis of the Flight Crew Association of Nigeria, FCAN, said apart from the loss of revenue, over the years, it had been quite herculean for Air Traffic Controllers to communicate effectively with pilots.

“Loss of enormous revenue in foreign exchange by NAMA, for the simple reason that many aircraft find it a lot convenient to avoid Nigeria’s airspace and consequently operate in the contiguous airspaces”.

According to Agoro, the present controller-pilot VHF communication coverage of the Nigeria’s airspace was a far cry from the required international standard but it was still work in progress with NAMA.

The NATCA president also expressed concerned over the limited/inadequate number of Air Traffic Controllers in the country to effectively man all Air Traffic Control units across the country, adding this was not only hampering service delivery but had led to a situation where the staff are overworked and may lead to significant safety implication.
Agoro lamented the deplorable state of the control towers in 7 airports across the country which had become a health hazard to ATCs.

“At the risk of sounding repetitive, it is important to mention it again that the Control Towers at following locations – Kaduna, Maiduguri, Ilorin, Yola, Sokoto, Benin, Katsina are in a very deplorable state”.

“The case of the Abuja Tower Elevator that suddenly dropped from the topmost floor to the ground is a sore point in Nigeria’s aviation industry”.
Even more worrisome is the threat of health hazard to ATCOs who go the agony of climbing 232 flights of stairs on a daily basis” he added.

He therefore appealed to pilots to collaborate and trust the ATCs for a safe airspace.
“Let us keep the channel of communication open, improve on it where necessary and build a stronger teamwork to further enhance communication between pilots and controllers and ultimately achieve a higher SAFETY index which we all know is a critical component of air traffic system”.

According to the NATCA President, “Though the relationship is symbiotic, but it is a statement of fact that the air traffic controller plays a central role in the safety of the air traffic system. The pilot must trust a controller’s commands because he or she is not, in general, in receipt of enough information regarding the traffic disposition to question them. Amongst other responsibilities, the controller reduces the pilot’s workload by taking over the role of detecting and resolving conflicts with other aircrafts operating in the same or adjacent airspace, and by providing warnings and advice of known weather hazards”.

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