The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA says the replacement and upgrade of Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, TRACON is very important if seamless air navigation in the country is to be guaranteed.
This is just as the agency calls on the Federal Government to come to their assistance in footing the bills of this huge project as the radar system has been bedeviled by lack of spare parts.
Speaking at the stakeholders interactive forum in Lagos, the MD NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu said,”TRACON has to be fixed, the cost of the upgrade runs into billions according to the contractor”.
He noted that the radar(TRACON) network for surveillance of the nation’s airspace had remained functional due to the ingenuity if NAMA engineers, adding that they were doing everything possible to keep it up.
According to him, the challenge of poor communication between pilots and air traffic controllers had been addressed with the “optimization of the VHF radio for Upper Airways Communication between Air Traffic controllers and pilots which recorded a significant success. Almost at the same time, new VHF radios were also installed in 17 airports for approach or aerodrome control; this also is a success”.
“We cannot boast to have resolved all issues regarding shortcomings in the performance of CNS/ATM systems, but we have the ambition to continuously improve, modernize and replace these facilities as a matter of priority in order to make the airspace flexible, effective, efficient, economical, and friendly and a desired destination for all airspace users”,he added.
In his presentation, the Director, Electronics and Engineering Services NAMA, Engr. Farouk Umar Ahmed said since 2014, the agency had been managing the TRACON without spare parts, adding talks were ongoing with TALES of France, the company who installed the facility 2012 to do the needful.
He emphasized that the facility was due for upgrade apparently to avoid total collapse at any given time.
Engr. Farouk said significant works towards installation of Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) surveillance system for the Gulf of Guinea( Niger Delta Area) for surveillance and control of low level flights would commence soon.
According to him, the contractor had been fully mobilized to embark on the job and would be delivered in the first quarter of 2019.
Others areas the agency had achieved success according to the Director Electronic and Engineering Services are the timely delivery of ILS’s in Kaduna, Kano, Lagos and the replacement if the recently damaged ILS in Port-Harcourt.
Installations of High Power Stand Alone VHF radios in Lagos and Kano area control centers to back up the main radio systems.