By Sade Williams
Ahead of the expected closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for the repairs of the runway beginning from 8th of March 2017, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) said it has commenced the upgrading of navigational facilities at the Kaduna airport to absorb the increased volume of traffic to be diverted from Abuja.
Towards this end the agency is deploying both equipment and personnel to strategic areas of need to ensure a seamless flow of traffic at the airport during the six-week period.
Making this disclosure to newsmen, the General Manager, Safety Management Systems/Quality Assurance, Mr. Mathew Lawrence Pwajok revealed that the agency has commenced the installation of a digital Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Kaduna airport which will undergo flight calibration along with the VOR (Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Radio Range) already installed, to ensure their accuracy.
“NAMA is also currently conducting a safety assessment of the entire Kaduna airport to ensure that it conforms to international safety standards, just as new equipment is being procured for the control tower under construction while a mobile control tower is to be deployed to the airport to support the old control tower already in use,” Pwajok said.
He added that while the Abuja radar is also going to be used to provide radar surveillance of traffic moving in and out of Kaduna to provide safety and efficiency of flight operations, new generating sets are to be installed to provide secondary power supply to the navigational aids, even as he said cooling systems are to be installed soon.
Other facilities already deployed at the station according to him include a low level wind shear alerting system and cooling systems even as he stated that Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures for satellite based navigation capability have been published for aircraft that are equipped to use for approach and landing rather that the ground aids.
In the area of personnel, the SMS boss said various categories of personnel would be deployed to the airport to complement the available manpower in Kaduna throughout the duration of the Abuja airport closure. These include Aeronautical Information Services (AIS), Communications, Air Traffic Control and Engineering officers.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu who recently inspected the facility upgrade at the airport, has expressed satisfaction with the level work, saying that the sophisticated nature of facilities being installed meant that Kaduna would be an excellent alternative to Abuja airport.