The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), has said it is determined to ensure a speedy completion of the Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) Automation project in the country.
This, according to the agency, is in view of the fact that AIS is the “live-wire of any air navigation system as it ensures the safety, efficiency and regularity of air navigation through the exchange of accurate, timely and reliable information to airspace users.’’
Engr. Emma Anasi, Ag. Managing Director of the, who dropped the hint during this year’s World AIS Day celebration, also noted that, in spite of initial challenges traceable to lack of funding and other technicalities, the project is back on course.
Anasi, who was represented at the event by the General Manager, Safety Management Services, Mr Mathew Pwajok, revealed that the first phase of automation shall become fully operational at 11 stations nationwide by the third quarter of 2016.
He added that the ongoing global migration from terrestrial based navigation to satellite based navigation (i.e. Performance Based Navigation) needed a high level of accuracy and integrity of data required for safety, efficiency and economy of flight operations.
Mr Shittu Babatunde, President of the Aeronautical Information Services Association of Nigeria (AISAN), had earlier appealed to NAMA management to assist his organization in the area of personnel training, office accommodation and technical equipment.
In another development, the agency has assured stakeholders that the nation’s airspace remains one of the safest on the continent of Africa for air navigation.
Speaking while declaring open the demonstration of Aircraft e-Clearance User Acceptance Test Module to National Air Defence Corp, Security Agencies and other stakeholders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Anasi noted that the agency in the recent past has deployed sophisticated technology and navigational infrastructure intended to enhance efficiency in its operations as well as safety of air travel in the country, stressing that the deployment of Aircraft e-Clearance Solution was another innovation by NAMA to automate its operations and also ease the process of aircraft flight clearances which used to be very tedious and cumbersome in the past.
Engr. Anasi who was represented on the occasion by the Port Harcourt Airspace Manager, Mr Gabriel Akpen explained that the huge investment NAMA was making in automating its processes is in line with global best practices.
He therefore assured that the agency was ready to accommodate all the views and suggestions from stakeholders on how the system could be made to function better.
Mr Patrick Nebe, Deputy General Manager, Aircraft Clearance Office, had earlier in his address, recalled that apart from its inherent vulnerability to manipulations detrimental to national security, the old system of manually granting aircraft clearances was fraught with other challenges such as unnecessary bureaucracy leading to loss of valuable time.
He stressed that the urgency with which some flights operate necessitated a quicker system of processing flight clearances for them.
Nebe also explained that the Aircraft e-Clearance Solution has inbuilt security and tracking device which helps users to keep track of their request for flight permit as well as the general aircraft movement within the nation’s airports.