Airlines are set to key into a new navigational system, the Performance Based Navigation (PBN), developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation ( ICAO), the Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, has said.
But, indigenous carriers will have to await clearance from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to adopt this new technology that will make flight operations seamless.
The new technology, he said, will help to reduce flight hours by pilots of indigenous carriers when approved by the NCAA.
PBN, the airspace agency boss said, sets the level of accuracy, integrity and continuity that the aircraft’s navigation systems must meet for required functionality.
All components required for effective implementation of the new technology have been completed by the agency.
He said NCAA is yet to approve it for the airlines. He did not state the reason for.
Abdulsalam said: “I understand that Arik is about using the equipment, but I am not too sure about the other airlines. But Arik aircraft are equipped to use it.”
But, investigations reveal that some aircraft in the fleet of some indigenous carriers are not fitted with the required technology to migrate into the new navigation system.
He said when operational, the new air navigation would benefit the industry.
He said: “You know we have very efficient routing now that you can take direct flight routing from Lagos to wherever you are flying into or wherever you are flying from to Lagos.Those are some of the benefits of PBN, those are some of the benefits of direct routing. It is part of the things we are enjoying at the moment and we hope to even enjoy more subsequently as we move along.’’
The NAMA boss said the equipment has been installed in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, stressing that the agency’s officials are already conversant with the facilities.
“So, maintaining it will not be difficult for us.They trained on it and they have been maintaining the other three stations; so, maintaining this one will not be a problem,” he said.
Abdulsalam further said the milestone was accomplished last month with the conduct of the Site AcceptanceTest of the new Kano Safe Tower project, as well as the Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) training.
The Safe Tower Project was conceived in 2006 by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration to automate air traffic services at Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt control towers.
The project was completed in Abuja and Lagos in 2007, while that of Port Harcourt was completed in 2008. However, the completion of this project was delayed in Kano as a new control tower had to be constructed.
According to him, following the completion of the construction of the new Kano Control Tower in November, last year, NAMA mobilised AVSATEL to site for the deployment of the safe tower automated air travel management and meteorological systems last January.
He explained that shortly after AVSATEL mobilised to site, the Kano Safe Tower project suffered yet another delay as some of the equipment which have been in the warehouse since 2007, had become obsolete and had to be replaced at additional cost.
Despite all the challenges, Abdulsalam said the deployment of the system was completed with the required conduct of a site acceptance test.