Ikeja- The Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) has disclosed that its equipment at all the airports across the nation would operate optimally during the forthcoming harmattan season.
Mr Supo Atobatele, General Manager, Public Affairs of the authority, said this on Tuesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Atobatele said that the equipment would operate at optimal level to handle flights during the harmattan season.
He said that the agency’s Air Traffic Controllers (ATC’s) were professionally trained to also handle flights during the period.
The manager urged pilots to strictly adhere to all weather minimal prescribed by the meteorological agency for the various airports and follow ATC advice.
Mr Banji Olawode, Public Relations Officer, National Air Traffic Controllers of Nigeria (NATCA), told NAN that some adverse weather conditions that are associated with harmattan season include mist, fog and dust haze.
Olawode said that these conditions reduce visibility and could limit the usage of an airport or impair air safety.
He said that many of the landing aids such as Instrument Landing System (ILS), airfield lightings (runway, approach and taxiway lights) are inadequate at the nation’s airports.
“This thereby limits operations in adverse weather condition like dust haze, rain and fog.
“Many of the airports operations are restricted under adverse weather conditions due to absence of airfield lightings and non-availability of desirable landing aids,’’ he said.
He stated that some airports with ILS are always having problems of power supply to the equipment and other technical problems that could make the equipment unserviceable.
Olawode added that ATC’s are in acute short supply in Nigeria with NAMA having just about 300 of its workforce being air controllers.
“ The about 30 airports/airstrips in Nigeria require at least 600 ATC’s to optimally man the nation’s airspace.
“The airports/airstrips in the country keep increasing by the day without any concrete plan to employ more ATC’s,’’ he said.
He said that the 300 available ATC’s were fast ageing with average age of 44 years .
Olawode said that this scenario was dangerous because an overworked ATC is prone to making mistakes which could be too costly to air safety.
Dr Anthony Anuforom, Director General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), had earlier said the agency would deploy a new Satellite Image Weather Technology to improve weather forecast in the aviation industry.
Anuforom said that the equipment would enable the agency to predict the weather with a greater level of precision in terms of geography.
He said that the facility would increase aircraft traffic at the designated operations. (NAN)