The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency NAMA) has saved N1.5 billion on the maintenance of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) by indigenous technical personnel.
The acting managing director of the agency, Mr. Emmanuel Anasi disclosed this in Lagos while playing host to members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation led by its chairman, Ms. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.
He explained that the money was saved following the disengagement of the foreign maintenance personnel from Thales of France, manufacturers of the TRACON equipment and replacing them (foreign maintenance personnel) with indigenous engineers.
He revealed that NAMA was paying N1.7 billion to Thales of France to maintain the facility adding that the company left two years earlier after training Nigerian personnel on the maintenance of the facility.
Anasi who praised the engineers however said NAMA needed more funds to enable it upgrade the TRACON system to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard as well as migrate to new technology to harmonize its activities.
He said nothing was wrong with the TRACON but explained that some of the systems were not included when the radar was installed because of the technology available at the time of conceptualization and installation.
“We are doing well; I am not saying that we have gotten there but we keep on improving. The radar is working; the contract for its maintenance by its manufacturers expired two years ago but our engineers have kept it working. But we need assistance because some of the systems need upgrades.
“We say upgrades and not an extension of the maintenance contract. Upgrade because we have to deploy ICAO standard technology so our system will be compatible with other systems.
“As the radar stands, it cannot work with the Aeronautical Information System (AIS); we need to upgrade the radar to work with the AIS and other third-party technologies. It needs to meet the current technology,” said Anasi.