The Nigerian Airspace management Agency (NAMA) has said that it has been unable to access spare parts for its Total radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) facility built at the cost of €66,500,870 (about N27, 930, 365, 400).
The TRACON project which began around 2003 was completed in 2014 but four years down the line, it seems to be working in fits and starts.
Speaking on Tuesday in his presentation at the Stakeholders Interactive Forum organised by the agency in Lagos, the director of safety electronics and engineering services, Mr. Farouk Umar, said all efforts to source spare parts to from the manufacturer, Thales of France, had been unsuccessful.
He lamented that the situation had been like that since 2014, which was four years after the project came on stream.
Umar said NAMA had been operating the equipment without spares from the manufacturers, adding that the facility was also due for upgrade.
He therefore appealed to the federal government to prevail on the company to adhere strictly to the terms of contract as entered into with Nigeria.
Earlier, in his remarks, the managing director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu said the agency had installed Very High Frequency (VHF) radios across 17 airports in Nigeria to enhance air safety and radio communications between pilots and control towers within the Nigerian airspace.
He listed some of the airports equipped with the facility to included Owerri, Enugu, Kaduna, Ibadan, Katsina, Sokoto, Maiduguri and Akure, Asaba, Dutse, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Gombe and Calabar.
He explained that the installation of VHF radios in the 17 airports for approach and aerodrome control was part of the short term approach of the current management in the agency.
He also said the installation of the equipment would further address the radio communication challenge in the system and urged all users of NAMA facilities to commit to their obligations regularly in order to improve safety in the airspace.
The managing director also announced that NAMA was also progressively installing navigational in over 12 airport locations.
Some of the navigational aids installed at the 12 airports 2 airports include VHF Omni-directional Range and Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME), Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Category III ILS for Lagos and Abuja airports, which would be installed soon.
More so, Akinkuotu said NAMA had collaborated with the Edo State government to install ILS at Benin Airport
“We are doing everything possible to keep it so. We are sure that the replacement and upgrade of this system will soon commence. In addition to this, significant works towards installation of Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) surveillance system for the Gulf of Guinea for surveillance and control of low level flights will commence in few weeks.
“The provision and maintenance of airspace infrastructure and the required personnel is expensive. I will appeal to the government to continue giving the necessary support to our drive to re-engineer the CNS/ATM facilities in NAMA within the shortest time possible and our customers to commit fully to their obligations to the agency at all times.”
In his keynote address, the minister of state for aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, said that the policy direction of the federal government is to provide the enabling environment for investment in sector.
Sirika who was represented at the occasion by the permanent secretary in the ministry of transport, Mr. Sabiu Zakari, noted that a safe airspace for seamless connectivity and free flow of domestic, regional and international air traffic is essential for capital investment into any economy.