Yemisi Izuora

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA), said it is bolstering its airspace management functions as it is set to deploy Controller to Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) to improve aircraft communication throughout Nigerian airspace.

According to a statement from Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA), “The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has selected SITA OnAir to enhance aircraft communications across Nigeria. SITA OnAir’s advanced systems will enable NAMA to comply with the recommendations of ICAO’s regional Air Navigation Plan and in doing so increase safety and efficiency in Nigerian airspace.

In this multi-year deal, SITA OnAir is supplying Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) solutions and services at the Lagos and Kano Control Centers to enhance long range data communication between air traffic controllers (ATC) and pilots.”
In his response towards the agreement, the Managing Director of NAMA, Ibrahim Abdulsalam, said, “SITA OnAir is already well-known for its superior VHF datalink coverage on the African continent and with its highly reliable services SITA OnAir is the ideal partner for NAMA.

The new CPDLC systems at our air traffic control centers in Lagos and Kano will move voice traffic off congested frequencies and allow for accurate data exchange between the controllers and pilots.”

He noted that with this new ADS-C capability, the agency will receive automatic position reports from aircraft to its air traffic services. This will enable NAMA to acquire surveillance information from aircraft flying outside of radar coverage.

Vice-President, Aircom, SITA OnAir, Philip Clinch, said NAMA was making significant changes that will ensure increased safety while boosting Nigeria’s airspace capacity.

Besides the new Future Air Navigation System (FANS) capability, Clinch disclosed that NAMA would also benefit from SITA OnAir’s connectivity and technical support.”

The FANS is the protocol which airlines follow to manage increasing levels of air traffic. With it, an air traffic control center (ATC) can track aircraft along their full route. When an ATC has accurate position data, and knows exactly where an aircraft is, it can reduce distances between aircraft and safely allow more in the airspace.

The use of CPDLC according to Abdulsalam will improve ATC communications in Nigerian airspace.

According to him, NAMA handles an average of 550 flights daily across the nation’s airports and airlines could see improvement in communication and surveillance efficiency almost immediately.

The use of air-to-ground data link has been endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as a key enabler in its vision of a performance-based Global Air Traffic Management system.

According to SITA, the benefits of CPDLC is much, supplementing traditional voice communications with direct data links between aircraft and Air Traffic Control. It allows air controllers to handle more aircraft and manage them more safely.

Source: NTM news

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