The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency says airlines migration to Performance Based Navigation, PBN, will save domestic airlines about 12, 600, 000 litres of fuel monthly.
PBN is a navigational procedure that specifies aircraft required navigation performance (RNP) and area navigation (RNAV); it also provides clear guidance to the pilot in terms of accuracy, integrity, continuity and functionality in a particular airspace.
It also enhances safety but most importantly encourages fuel efficiency and according to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu.
He said together with other navigational aids, the agency could safe Nigerian airlines at least 10 litres of fuel for every flight.
This means that an airline that operates minimum of seven flights a day would safe 70,000 litres and in one month would save about 2, 100, 000 a month.
So the six airlines that are currently in operation would be able to save minimum of 12, 600, 000 litres monthly if they migrate to Performance Based Navigation, which is a project that NAMA had since completed, but for airlines to migrate they must have corresponding equipment in their aircraft and as of now it is only international airlines and few domestic airlines, including Arik Air that have such equipment.
Captain Akinkuotu explained that with PBN and Aeronautical Fixed Communication Network (AFTN) the nation’s airspace would not only be safer and efficient but would also help airlines to operate to destinations with the shortest possible time.
For example, it used to take one hour, 10 minutes to fly from Lagos to Abuja but due to new development in airspace management, NAMA has reduced flight time to average 55 minutes, which saves a lot of fuel for the airlines.
“We want to ensure that our radios deliver crisp and clear communications. We want to be able to provide more effective service and then study the provision of services to our customers. Because we have to not only deliver navigational services or approach facilities to them but we want to use our radar to make them more efficient. We can save an airline, let’s say about10 litres on each of their flight every day and the airline does 70 flights a day, that means that you can save them 70,000 litres a day. If you multiply that by 30 days and multiply it by 365 days, that is profit. So these are the kind of things that we should be looking at,” Akinkuotu said.
The NAMA boss said that the agency must have to continue with the multilateration project in order to secure the South East corridor (oil and gas exploration areas), where low flying helicopters on oil and gas shuttle operate under the radar and therefore are not detected.
He noted that this could be dangerous for the country in terms of security and added that NAMA should be able to monitor, observe and document every movement in the airspace, including low flying helicopters.
“We need to have better monitoring particularly in our South-East corridors to be able to capture helicopters that are flying low level. So these are things which I, because of my knowledge of the system would be able to bring to the fore and be able to explain on why we need them. The more the airlines are able to fly regularly, the more revenue to our system. And of course the better it is for the customers, which is the airline.
“We need to do the multilateration (MLAT) of the South-East corridor, the helicopters that are flying there now are not actually “captured”, for economic reasons we are losing out. Also, it will provide security for us; because we will be able know who is flying and who is entering,” Akinkuotu said.