FG To Upgrade 4 Airports’ Control Towers, NAMA Plans Satellite Demo Flight

Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is working to upgrade the country’s air traffic management system, including the Safe Tower Project (STP) that was holistically done 10 years ago.

The Managing Director of the agency, Mr. Mathew Lawrence Pwajok, stated that four airports, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), and the Port-Harcourt International Airport, were the aerodromes, which control towers would be upgraded and refurbished with the safe tower equipment.


New mobile air traffic tower acquired for NAMA

He reiterated that the idea was to increase the efficiency of the airports and reduce the workload in the control tower and automate what was hitherto analogue system into digital. Pwajok said that information regarding weather, regarding all of the components of weather, winds, rain, and macroburst would be displayed automatically.

The issue of giving out weather reports every hourly will change to give instant weather which will improve the pilot efficiency and the workload on the controller be reduced and it can handle more flights into the airport.

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To quickly see to the completion of the upgrade, the Federal Government, in 2021, approved funds for the upgrade of safe towers in the country’s airports to enhance effective air traffic control and monitoring

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, recently also expressed optimism that the safe tower projects, when completed, would increase efficiency and reduce the workload of air controllers in the affected airports. The STP, which was conceived in 2006, was aimed at automating air traffic management services at the four major airports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, and Kano.

While others have since been commissioned, Kano suffered a series of setbacks, leading to the rebuilding of a completely new digital safe tower for Kano airport.

The Kano Safe Tower project had since been completed. Nigeria is one of the first few countries in Africa to procure and deploy the Digital Safe Tower and it ranks among the latest technologies in global Air Traffic Management.

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The NAMA chief, who spoke to Aviation Metric, said that by the end of the year, all the systems would have been replaced, adding that with the new system, more modern, advanced, and efficient aid air traffic management would have been upgraded.

Pwajok praised the Austrian Government and AVSATEL, project managers of many of the NAMA facilities for showing a lot of commitment and patriotism in the discharge of their duties.

He said: “They showed a lot of o commitment and when nobody expected the safe tower in Kano to be completed because some of the Aero medic equipment were not available they completed the project and we sincerely appreciate and we are happy to partner with them. “Even in another project, they have shown a lot of commitment, and patriotism in the discharge of their duty.

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NAMA logo

“We have enjoyed tremendous support from the Austrian government with the number of engineers that have been trained in Vienna and we sincerely appreciate it. It is a remarkable transfer of technology, of knowledge and expertise and it has greatly impacted our system.”

Meanwhile, the NAMA boss hinted that the agency was on the verge of planning to have a demonstration flight using the satellite system based on the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), a satellite-based augmentation system developed by the European Space Agency and EUROCONTROL on behalf of the European Commission with the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT).

He added: “We are having that type of collaboration but we want to have a practical demonstration with the use of aircraft using satellite navigation to do that.”

Wole Shadare