By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos – The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, has charged the oil and gas sector in Nigeria to consider the local production of aviation fuel (Jet A1) in line with the Content Development initiative of the Federal Government.
The General Manager, Public Affairs, NAMA, Mr Khalid Emele, in a statement in Lagos on Monday, quoted Akinkuotu as making the call an annual Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) forum organised by PSRG -Richardson Oil and Gas.
Akinkuotu said the call became imperative given the high cost of aviation fuel which gulps over 30 per cent of operational cost of airlines in Nigeria.
According to him, apart from cost, the supply of the product is sometimes epileptic, resulting in flight disruptions.
He stressed that the production of Jet A1 in Nigeria would regularise supply, bring about reduced cost, which would also translate into lower air fares by airlines.
The NAMA boss who delivered a paper on the topic “Aviation Safety in Nigeria – Challenges, Issues and Solutions” lamented the high cost of aircraft maintenance describing it as atrocious.
He revealed, however, that effort was being made by the federal government to set up an MRO (Maintenance, Repairs and Operations) facility.
This, he said, was part of strategic plans to reduce capital flight, lower the times aircraft leave the country for repairs and lower the cost of maintenance.
Akinkuotu said the recent pronouncement by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that Nigeria’s air carriers’ operations are in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards was good for the country.
“The aviation sector in Nigeria today is all together safe as accidents have remained at zero level for six consecutive years with serious or reportable incidents at acceptable levels,” he said.
This, according to him, does not presuppose there are no challenges and issues in the sector which deserve mention and require adequate attention.
Akinkuotu noted that as an airspace manager, NAMA had embarked on the modernisation of airspace infrastructure through the Installation of Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME).
He said the agency had also upgraded Doppler Very High Frequency Omnidirectional radio Range (DVOR) and Wide Area Multi-Lateration (WAM) for low flying aircraft surveillance and control.
Akinkuotu said that Installation of ILS/DME and DVOR/DME was ongoing in 12 airport locations, while CAT III ILS would be completed in Abuja and Lagos before the end of the year.