By Lawani Mikairu
IN spite of paucity of funds that has affected most of the aviation agencies in Nigeria due to the general recession of the country’s economy, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, has been able to keep the country’s airspace safe for flight operations by both domestic and foreign airlines. The recent on time complete calibration of Kaduna Airport navigational aids is a pointer to efforts of NAMA to make Nigeria airspace safe.
The Six weeks closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for complete reconstruction of the runway led to Kaduna Airport been chosen by the federal government as the alternate airport for all Abuja airport bound flights. The flight navigational aids at the Kaduna airport were below internationally acceptable standards and they had to be upgraded within a month to allow international flight operations there.
NAMA was called to task to upgrade these navigational aids within a short time frame. The agency, under the leadership of Captain Fola Akinkuotu, the Managing Director, accepted the challenge.
NAMA completed the routine calibration of the Very High Omnidirectional Radio Range/Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME) and the flight commissioning of the Instrument Landing System/Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) of the Kaduna Airport ahead of the March 8 closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internatinal Airport, Abuja.
According to the Calibration Manager, NAMA, Engr. Akeem Ogunmola, the calibration exercise was done in a bid to ensure accuracy, reliability and efficiency of facilities at the Kaduna airport, Ogunmola said “ the component parts of the facilities which include Two VOR transmitters, two DMEs co-located with the VORs, two localizer transmitters, two glideslope transmitters and two DMEs co-located with the glideslope all passed the flight calibration test. The flight calibration was handled by Omni-Blue Aviation Ltd along with their technical partners (FCSL of United Kingdom) in collaboration with NAMA engineers who carried out the installation, alignment and parameter adjustment during the exercise.”
He further said “the flight exercise which started from Kaduna will extend to Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Bauchi. In Bauchi , the calibration team would be commissioning three systems which include ILS/DME, VOR/DME and Non-directional beacon. Also to be calibrated are facilities in the Port Harcourt and Lagos international airports.”
Commenting at the end of the calibration exercise, the Director of Safety Electronics and Engineering Services, Engr. Farouk Umar who led the NAMA team of engineers in the installation of the facilities in Kaduna described the calibration exercise as very successful, saying that “Kaduna airport is on full components of navigational aids, functioning at optimal levels. We can gladly report that Kaduna airport can now safely land aircraft even in critical weather conditions as far as Navaids are concerned.”
In a bid to further boost the efficiency of NAMA, Captain Akinkuotu recently set up a committee to commence the immediate review of the nation’s Aeronautical Information Procedure, AIP. The Nigerian AIP is a state document that contains all aeronautical information that relates to the services, procedures, facilities and personnel at all Nigerian airports or within the Nigerian airspace.
The NAMA Managing Director further said, “ the AIP review became necessary following the ongoing certification of Nigerian international airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The review intends to capture facilities that have been upgraded at the airports including fire cover, lighting systems, aerodrome layout, airfield lighting facilities, navigational facilities and visual aids.”