Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has successfully installed a new CAT 2 Instrument Landing System and Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to replace the old system which was installed since 2003.
A successful site acceptance test on the equipment has also been conducted by NAMA engineers in Enugu in preparation for its calibration in the coming days.
Meanwhile, in a bid to address communication blind spots in the Lagos South-East corridor, the Agency has installed a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) for satellite communication at the airport.
This SATCOM (Satellite Communication) node has further been integrated into the national satellite communication network which is linked to the AFISNET (African Indian Ocean SATCOM Network).
Also linked to the VSAT is the newly installed Remote Control Air-Ground (RCAG) Very High Frequency (VHF) radio communication system, ensuring that Enugu now has an extended VHF coverage on 127.3MHz frequency for Lagos South-East sector.
Speaking on the gains of this latest installation, Managing Director of NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, who noted with delight that radio communication along the Lagos South-East sector had improved tremendously, said: “The installation of the VHF radio in Enugu was particularly significant as the city is strategically located to accommodate over six routes, both local and international.”
“Enugu, being on a higher latitude, can cover for Manfe entry/exit reporting point in Cameroun for international flights like Ethiopian, Rwanda Airlines, Kenya Airways, South Africa Airways and the like,” Akinkuotu said.
The NAMA boss revealed that the new installation had provided an Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTNlink) which would enhance effective data communication for transmission of flight plans, NOTAMs and Aeronautical Communication messages.
According to him, this “would also provide effective coordination between Enugu tower and Lagos Area Control Centre through the ATS/DS (Air Traffic Services/ Direct Speech) for departing and arriving traffic ahead of time.”
Last week, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said that the Federal Government is on course to ensure that the rehabilitation of the airport is complete and will be open for flight operations before Easter.
On his official Twitter handle, he said they are almost done with the installation of the ILS and DME and are on course to open the airport before the Easter celebrations.
“We are almost done with the installation of Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) at Enugu Airport. We are on course to reopen the Airport before Easter, God willing,” he said.
Following the closure of the international airport for the rehabilitation of the runway, Sirika gave the assurance in October last year that the work on the airport will be completed before 2020 Easter if funds are made available.
Sirika gave the assurance during the Ministry’s budget defence before the House Committee on Aviation at the National Assembly, Abuja. He also promised that the airport would be one of the best in the country at the end of the reconstruction work. President Muhammadu Buhari approved N10 billion emergency funds for the upgrade of the airport and the Minister said a state of emergency will be declared for its speedy completion.