…. AIS personnel apprehensive over exposure to Covid 19
As the aviation industry celebrates the World Aeronautical Information Service, AIS Day, personnel in Nigeria has frown on the continued delay in the automation of the AIS system.
The non-automation of the system has made it difficult for the adoption and usage of eflight planning and eReception of raw data.
President, Aeronautical Information Management Association of Nigeria (AIMAN), William George Ngerem, in a message to mark the World AIS Day, said, it is sad that after 10 years of starting the project Nigeria was yet to complete the project, adding that countries like Senegal, Kenya and others who commenced the project after Nigeria had automated their systems.
Speaking on this year’s World AIS/AIM Day theme, “Challenges of COVID – 19 on Aeronautical Information Management Operations (AIM OPS)”, Ngerem noted that, the non automation of the AIS system today has put it members at great risk as they are exposed to contracting the covid19 during the collection, collating, processing and dissemination of aeronautical information to users.
“This digitalization would have mitigated against some challenges experienced during this pandemic. As it is, our staff are daily exposed to the health risk of COVID-19. They are exposed to related services who would have had no business going physically to AIS offices if the AIS automation had been implemented. They are also doubly exposed to flight dispatchers who come to submit flight plans physically” “The Flight plans itself which are in paper form can carry the virus if someone who is positive had held it. The AIS automation project would have clearly taken care of this concern”.
“It is sad to note that AIM in Nigeria remained the most backward in West Africa, as opposed to Africa as a whole, because we are yet to be automated”, Ngerem added.
He challenged the Management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency NAMA to provide the right channel through which they carry out their work seamless and effectively without physical contact with their related services.
Ngerem explained that, the main objectives of the Association include to provide forum to discuss and exchange concepts and practices related to major global changes in aeronautical services and other information sharing related topics to the rapidly aeronautical information management community.
He stated that as part of AIS responsibilities and functions, they were expected to ensure that aeronautical data and aeronautical information necessary for the safety, regularity or efficiency of air navigation were made available in a form suitable for the operational requirements of the ATM community, including those involved in flight operations, flight crews, flight planning and flight simulator.
The AIMAN president said they also provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the activities, planning and implementation level on transition from Aeronautical Information Services to Aeronautical Information Management.
Speaking on doing the job during the lockdown, Secretary of AIMAN, Funmi Adeyemi said it was not easy as mobility was a big problem for them.
She stressed that despite the pandemic, love for the job and dedication to duty motivated them to discharge their duties.
“Like the slogan of NAMA says, It is safety first, so we think of the safety of the airspace users first. We have tried as much as possible to transport ourselves to work, during the total lockdown; it was a bit difficult even though we had passes.
The AIMAN scribe also explained that during the period, there was a shift in place, “it depends on each station, each station has their capacity so we have done it in a way that there is always somebody on duty even at the headquater’s level we had to start running shift and there is always somebody in the offices Monday through Friday”.
The Aeronautical Information Management Association of Nigeria (AIMAN), an affiliate of the International Federation of Aeronautical Information Management Association (IFAIMA) with its members domiciled in Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Nigerian College of Aviation technology (NCAT).
The World AIS Day celebration is an annual event which is celebrated every May 15 by all contracting states in accordance with the declaration by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).