…Agency urges airlines to take advantage of upgrade, trains more ATCos,
Posted by Sade Williams
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), at the weekend disclosed that it has begun the upgrade of its facilities across the nation, saying it will expend a whooping N23 billion on the upgrade of Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) 12 years after it was commissioned.
Managing director of the Agency, Mr. Matthew Pwajok, made this disclosure on Friday at a media forum with Aviation correspondents held at Amber Residence in Ikeja, Lagos.
He also said the Safe Tower upgrade, which is ongoing will cost the Agency N13 billion.
Both facilities ‘ upgraded would cost the Agency N36 billion.
The NAMA boss, who disclosed that the TRACON upgrade was ongoing, said it would involve the software and hardware upgrade and provision of other amenities.
He said that out of the the N23 billion, N17 billion would be expended on system upgrade which includes the Radar itself while N5 billion would be spent on upgrading Very Small Appetite Terminal (VSAT).
He said the VSAT would provide digital exchange of information at a very high speed and voice exchange of information using ground radius and air ground communication between air traffic controllers and pilots.
VSAT is a two-way satellite ground station with a dish antennae that is smaller than 3.8 meters.
”The upgrade of TRACON is ongoing, since 2010, we have not been able to upgrade to top Sky, the upgrade is expected to improve the functionality and efficiency of the system, it will become automated, they will begin to issue information electronically thereby reducing the workload and pressure on Air traffic controllers [ATCos] and pilots. The upgrade will cover the entire nation, the nine locations of TRACON. This is all to improve the safety , efficiency and capacity the airspace”, he said.
While disclosing that the Safe Tower upgrade will cost N13 billion, Pwajok said the systems are due for upgrade, adding that there is need to close all gaps before the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit by the first quarter of 2023.
Pwajok disclosed further that Multilateration upgrade will cost the agency $12.9million, adding that the Agency has incorporated the unmanned system that can detect Drones into the project. He added that this also provides for the capturing of low-level flying helicopters in the Gulf of Guinea and especially, as their activities increased in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.
As a navigation tool, multilateration uses a single, mobile receiver to measure the signals transmitted from a number of sites at fixed, known positions.
”It provides us with the monitoring, control and surveillance in those regions”, he added.
While speaking further on the maintenance of the TRACON, Pwajok said: The TRACON was commissioned in 2010 and we have a five-year maintenance contract, since that period, our engineers have been maintaining it , I commend them for this great job, a whole lot of money has been spent in terms of maintenance. TRACON has been working optimally and with this facility, we see everything over Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Malabo and many countries, with the upgrade too, the functionality will change, we are doing this majorly to enhance safety, efficiency , revenue is secondary”, he added.