The National Association
of Air Traffic Engineers (NAATE), has reassured that the Nigerian airspace is safe for flying as anybody with contrary view is targeted at misleading the public.
Speaking to newsmen at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the President of NAATE, Mr Ebenezer Makanjuola, said the authority of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has improved the navigational equipment in the country’s airspace and beyond.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) an umbrella body of Air Traffic Controllers has consistently raised alarm over the safety of the country’s airspace. NATCA has continually challenged the federal government to invest more money in the communications and surveillance equipment for improved airspace.
Mr Makanjuola countered this claim, declaring that the equipment installed in the various airport across the country met international standards and assured the travelling public of a very safe airspace.
He insisted that no air crash in the country in the last 20 years had been traceable to equipment failure, stressing that if the equipment were not of international standards, crashes would have been attributed to the malfunction of the equipment and facilities used to manage the airspace.
On the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, (TRACON), project, Makanjuola explained that since the equipment was installed over three years ago, pilots had not complained about its efficiency and performance, insisting that the equipment was perfect and dependable.
He, however, agreed that there might be hitches in the system, saying that was not enough to say the airspace is unsafe.
“No one has ever complained about the TRACON project. If the users do not complain, who are we to do so? I can tell you, as an engineer, that the TRACON is perfect, good and reliable. With the system, you can see an aircraft as far as Niger, Chad and even Ghana. TRACON is not equipment that will keep the aircraft-in the air or control its performance,” TRACON said.
“The World Geodetic Survey 84 (WGS84) project is completed and as a result is providing performance Based Navigation (PBN). PBN is available in 22 airports. It enables aircraft system performance to be defined in terms of accuracy, integrity, availability, continuity and functionality required for all operations in the Nigerian airspace supported by appropriate navigational infrastructure,” Makanjuola added.
It explained that to provide seamless communication between pilots and ATC, there is usually data transfer from one point to the other in split seconds and satellite support both active and redundant at 999 per cent availability.
“The agency has taken delivery of Aeronautic Information Service Automation facilities for 27 airports and our members are fully equipped with necessary skills for this provision,” he said.
He, however, said safety is everybody’s business, stressing that safety is all encompassing and it involves agencies like NAMA, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and even the airlines in the sector.
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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