In an effort to improve air safety, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) will from March migrate from terrestrial to satellite-based navigation.
This is a new technology popularly called performance Based Navigation (PBN) that will see NAMA jettisoring most of its land-based navigational aids, such as the Instrument Landing System (ILS), Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) and others, which now serve as back-ups.
The new technology will offer pilots more accurate data from the satellite and give them quicker and better precision approach and lauding into the airport. It will in turn save them more fuel and ensure quick turnaround.
Supo Atobatele, the General Manager, Public Affairs of NAMA, who disclosed the development stated that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has already pledged to complete and deliver the new PBN procedure and charting for the four international airports- Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano to NAMA by March.
According to Atobatele, already, the PBN (GNSS) procedure design datasheet for all the 24 airports have been uploaded to NAMA cartographers for charting, pointing out that plans to move to the Global Navigation Satellite System /Air Traffic Management (GNAA/ATM) has been in the works for a long time.
He stressed that part of the obstacles to achieving the order has been epileptic power supply, adding that the World Geodic Survey (WGS 84) of the 24 airports in the country has already been concluded at the cost of N360 million.
The procedure to enter the airports will soon change immediately the satellite-based navigation comes on stream, Atobatele said, noting that with the new chart, planes can come in via satellite aid.
This, according to him, means that pilots will engage in far less talks with the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCS) while “you just plot your way in and start coming because everything is based on satellite”.
We, already have the support and approval of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the MD said and explained that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has given 2016 as deadline for countries to migrate from terrestrial-based navigation to satellite.
He added that NAMA wants to comply with the directive before the deadline elapses, saying that state-owned airports such as Gombe and Akwa Ibom have already subscribed to the GNAA/ATM just as they would not be insulated from it when it becomes fully operational.
The NAMA spokesman noted that all the stakeholders involved in making the PBN a success are being carried along, saying “Aviation Wing of the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Air, Force, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), NCAA, NIMET and others are being carried along”.
Atobatele reveled that foreign airlines such as Lufthausa, Emirates and others have agreed to test-fly the new procedure once it comes on stream while training on the new procedure has carried out locally and internationally.
According to him, Lagos zone was done in October 2009, while Abuja was done in December same year, disclosing that stakeholders were awarded Diploma in PBN in Canada from the IATA Training Institute.
COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff
At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.
This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.
S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS
South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.
Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.
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