By Sade Williams
Worried by the depleting number of Air Traffic Control Officers (ATC) in its employ as a result of ageing workforce, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has recently engaged the services of over 40 Air Traffic Control cadets to undergo various levels of training as recommended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Making this revelation at the recent Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, Managing Director of NAMA Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, who said his administration places premium on safety over any other consideration, noted that efforts were underway to increase the above number to a level consistent with global best practices.
Akinkuotu said in line with his determination to enhance safety of the airspace, a total of 150 Air Traffic Controllers have in the past 10 months of his administration been trained in different cadres and specializations of Air Traffic Control.
He listed these trainings to include Basic ATCO Course (Aerodrome and Approach), Area/Airways Non-Radar Control, Aeronautical Search and Rescue Mission Coordinators Course as well as other management skills development workshops and conferences, aimed at sharpening the skills of ATC systems managers.
The NAMA boss also noted that in order to achieve even distribution of ATC manpower among airports and stations, the agency has carried out a large number of operational postings as demanded by workload.
Akinkuotu said the above recruitments and training activities were targeted at not only enhancing ATC human capacities but also “providing a more efficient Air Traffic Management system, in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Global Air Navigation Plan”.
In order to demonstrate the agency’s commitment to ICAO modern safety management system for service providers, Akinkuotu said the agency has internalized the ICAO “Just Culture” in handling Air Safety Reports even as he expressed satisfaction that the number of Air Safety Reports has relatively gone down.
In a related development, NAMA has engaged the services of the Centre for Management Development, for the training of middle level management personnel across the country in administrative and management principles and practices.
Titled ‘In-Plant Workshop on Administrative and Management Principles, Practice and Processes’, the one-week training to be taken in batches is designed to equip staff with necessary skills in areas such as office communication, management information system, delegation and authority, records management, work ethics and values as well as performance appraisal techniques.
In a statement on the training, Akinkuotu said as the engine room of administration, there was the need to expose middle level management officers with the needed skills to handle complex issues related to office administration, principles and procedures so as to enable them make informed administrative decisions.