The Federal Government yesterday pledged to make the requisite investments that would boost the quality of radio communications between pilots and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
The Managing Director/CEO of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, who stated government’s position in Lagos, said all challenges currently being experienced in the area of communications in the Nigerian airspace “were being tackled with relentless vigour. Nigeria’s airspace deserves the very best radio communications system, and the government is working to deliver it.
“I want to assure my colleagues, the pilots and the air traffic controllers that efforts are being made. And we are not going to stop. I am not going to stop, so long as I am in NAMA from trying to deliver an optimally functional radio communications system for our airspace,” he vowed.
Akinkuotu, a pilot and an aeronautical engineer, explained that it was essential for communication between the pilots and air traffic controllers to be crisp and clear, stressing that “part of NAMA’s job is communication. We will keep trying; we will not rest until we fix it. And we will fix it.”
He said although there have been “attestations that they have been some remarkable improvements,” he would not be satisfied until peak efficiency was attained. “For me, good is not good enough,” he said, “why not the best?” he queried.
In recent months, the Nigerian airspace had been plagued by poor quality radio communication. And this is a trend that could pose a threat to safe fight operations.
According to the President of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Abayomi Agoro, commercial flight operations without a clear communication between the pilot in the cockpit and controllers in the tower held dire consequences for the safe operation of the flight.
He said the present Controller-Pilot VHF Communication coverage of Nigeria’s airspace is a far cry from the required international standard. He noted that over the years, it has been quite herculean for air traffic controllers to communicate effectively with pilots.
“At the risk of sounding repetitive, it is important to mention it again that the control towers at the following locations: Kaduna, Maiduguri, Ilorin, Yola, Sokoto, Benin, Katsina are in very deplorable state,” he said.