Senate Raises Eyebrow over Poor Communication Between Air Traffic Controllers, Pilots
The Senate Committee on Aviation has raised eye brow over the poor radio communication between Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) and aircraft pilots in the Nigerian airspace, a situation the Committee described as unacceptable.
This is just as the Committee stated that the Nigeria aviation industry was in trouble in view of the several challenges bedeviling the entire sector, which tend to defy all solutions.
The Committee’s position further re-echoed the complaints of the ATC, a department in the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency(NAMA) , who had severally cried out over the poor radio communication in the Nigerian airspace.
Speaking during an interactive session with the various agency heads at Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Adamu Aliero said that there have been several complaints about the poor communication between pilots and ATC, adding that the complaints have become rampant to the extent that it is inimical to air safety.
The Chairman, who was represented by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, who himself is a pilot was enraged that the poor communication could lead to accident, adding that the management of NAMA must look into the issue immediately to address the issue.
He stated that, this was not the first time pilots have been complaining about the communication, adding that this challenge has been there, wondering why it has not been addressed.
To buttress his point, he stated while communication between pilots and ATC are going smoothly in other smaller countries such as Ghana, Benin Republic, Senegal and others, that of Nigeria has continued to deteriorate despite the huge amount spent on the communication equipment.
Niamey, he said has a very good radio communication between pilots band ATC, wondering why Nigeria’ radio communication had remain poor despite the money the Federal Government has invested in it.
He said that things may have gone so bad because collectively Nigerians have refused to do what they were supposed to do, adding that the essence of the Committee’s visit is to make the oversight function different from the previous one.
According to him, “When we talk of aviation and begin to feel that it is only Nigeria that has aviation, I feel bad. Navigational Aids work elsewhere in Ghana, Benin, Dakar and other places. Why are they not working here? We want to know in the last six years what we have invested in radio frequency.”
He said that with all these the eight Senate has a lot of work to do,
Responding the Managing Director of NAMA, Mr Emma Anasi, said that the agency needed more funds to fix all the challenges identified by the Upper Chambers, adding that some of the equipment need both software and hardware upgrade?
On the controversial Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), Anasi stated that the radar was working perfectly but that the system needs upgrade.
The NAMA boss lamented that the problem is further compounded by the fact that no navigational aid is manufactured in Nigeria.
He complained that airlines in the country owe NAMA millions of naira , adding that whenever the agency approach them , they pay stipend , which according to him is not enough for the agency to carry out capital project.
According to him, “To stop them from further indebtedness to NAMA , we now ask them to pay in advance if they must fly”
He continued, “many of the airlines don’t want to pay .Many of them are taking the debts to be bad debts.
On his part, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN),Engr. Saleh Dunoma informed the committee that the agency was in the process of renovating the runways at Abuja , Akure and Enugu Airports.
He hinted that one of the challenges of the agency is the paucity of funds, as the FAAN did not receive appropriation in the 2016 budget.
On the issue of workers, who work within the airport area paying tow, the managing director stated that he agrees with the committee on the issue but that some of them have been taken care of.