Airlines Wants Navigational Facilities Enhanced

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Yemisi Izuora

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has demanded immediate  upgrade of the country’s airport landing aids and navigational equipment in line with global standards, noting that 70 per cent of flight delays and cancelations are due to poor landing aids.

Chairman of AON, Capt. Noggie Meggison,Commenting on the issue stated that airport runways should be upgraded for 24 hours operations with landing aids.

He said that air navigational facilities should be upgraded to allow flight operation in zero visibility and to improve safety, save time and reduce cost.

The upgrade of the country’s airport landing and navigational equipment in line with global standards would bring benefits such as increase in the operational efficiency and profitability of the airports, stimulate growth in the non-oil sector of the economy and increase contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he noted.

Other benefits are provision of better service delivery for operators, encourage more efficient and commercial operations, increased productivity, the ability to make Nigeria more attractive as a regional hub and attract more non-aeronautical businesses to the airport.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) had in the last few years implemented some programmes to improve airspace safety.

The agency recently implemented Performance Based Navigation (PBN) in the country for 15 Nigerian airports as well as the publication of Standard Arrival Routes (STARs) and Standard Instrument Departure Routes (SIDs) for Benin Airport by the agency.

This enables duly equipped aircraft with necessary approval from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to fly PBN procedures into the airports without the use of ground navigational aids. These airports include Benin, Calabar, Enugu, Ibadan, Ilorin, Owerri, Jos and Kaduna.

Others are Maiduguri, Katsina, Minna, Sokoto, Zaria, Gombe and Bauchi. A former Managing Director of NAMA, Ibrahim Abdulsalam had noted that the implementation of Performance Based Navigation in Nigeria became inevitable as it is in line with global migration from ground-based navigation to satellite-based navigation.

He stressed that NAMA was leaving no stone un-turned in meeting the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirement for states to ensure full implementation of Performance-Based Navigation at both local and international airports by 2016.

He stated that because of the increased level of accuracy, reliability, continuity, integrity of information, overall enhanced safety and attendant benefits to airlines and the travelling public, it has become imperative for Nigerian operators to key in to PBN, adding, “with direct routing and reduced flight times, Performance-Based Navigation would enhance efficiency and reduce cost to the airlines.”

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