In line with its commitment towards enhancing the quality of air traffic services in the country, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on Sunday said it has split the Lagos airspace into two sectors: the Lagos West Area Control Centre on 120.9MHz radio frequency, and the Lagos East Area Control Centre on 127.3MHz frequency.
According to the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, the splitting of the Lagos airspace had become imperative owing to increasing volume of traffic and the attendant challenges posed to both pilots and air traffic controllers.
The NAMA boss told journalists on Sunday that the splitting (technically known as the sectorisaton) of the Lagos Sub-Flight Information Region (Sub-FIR) which took off at exactly 00.01 UTC on Thursday, July 18, 2019, was a culmination of a two-year strategic plan to resolve the problem associated with the congested single radio frequency enroute Lagos.
Akinkuotu said, although the sectorisation of Lagos had eluded NAMA for over 16 years, it took the commitment and determination of the staff to see to its actualisation.
The immediate benefits of sectorisation, according to the NAMA boss, include reduction in congestion on the available en-route control radio frequency, reduction of flight delays; reduction in fuel consumption, reduction in CO2 emission, as well as increasing air traffic management (ATM) capacity. He said sectorising the Lagos Area Control Centre (ACC) would bring about optimum utilisation of the airspace by reducing controller-pilot workload, thereby increasing efficiency and quality of service delivery as well as providing functional air navigation services that will meet international standards at no cost to the users.
An air traffic management assessment of the Nigerian airspace was conducted in 1991 preparatory to the deployment of satellite communication system in the country where the studies confirmed the need for a sectored operation in Lagos and Kano. While Kano was sectorised in 2001, that of Lagos was stalled due to insufficient ATC manpower and infrastructural gaps at the time.
Established in 2001 out of the Kano Flight Information Region, which hitherto controlled the entire Nigerian airspace, the Lagos Area Control Centre manages 15 airports within the southern sector of the Nigerian airspace including flights over-flying the upper airspace.