By Chris Agabi
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Barr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, has said the projected 4,203 Air Traffic Controllers shortfall in Africa must be mitigated
ICAO projects that by the year 2037, Africa will require 4,203 new air traffic controllers.
Barr. Keyamo spoke at the opening of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) 34th Africa & Middle East Regional Meeting held Wednesday in Abuja.
The conference had the theme: “Shaping The Future: Trends And Insights on ATC Training For Tomorrow”
“The onus rests on the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to develop innovative solutions to accelerate the training of new and proficient air traffic controllers. The Ministry will, undoubtedly, continue to provide all the necessary support to NCAT to ensure that it meets and exceeds its statutory responsibilities and functions” the Minister promised.
The Minister who was represented by Dr. Michael Chukwu, the Ag. Director Air Safety and Administration, Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development said he is deeply committed to the growth and sustenance of the Nigerian Aviation Sector.
He said he has signed a performance bond with Mr. President to deliver on this commitment. Human Capacity Development and safety of air transportation lie at the heart of the Ministerial mandate.
In his opening speech, the President of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Mr. Agoro Abayomi said NATCA is a non profit and non political association, advancing and safeguarding the air traffic control profession in Nigeria and consistently remaining a federating member of IFATCA – the global Voices of air traffic controllers. He said “NATCA has enhanced our professional status and successfully positioned the profession amongst the nation’s aviation stakeholders in policy formulations”
He said “NATCA believes that there are some MAs that need assistance from the IFATCA to surmount some of its technical, operational and welfare challenges.”
“These MAs are an integral part of the federation and thus we feel that not paying attention to their plight might be holding the whole region from moving forward as a collective body. This observation does not in any way mean that those MAs are unable to resolve their challenges but we are of the opinion that it will take them a longer time and more resources to address some of their challenge” he stated.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Engr. Mohammed Tayib Odunowo represented by Mr. Pwajok Matthew Lawrence, the Director of Air Traffic Services said NAMA has upgraded navigational service in Nigeria.
“NAMA is currently upgrading her surveillance system from EUROCAT 2000 to TopSky Thales Radar system to enhance ATM capacity. The ongoing system upgrade will include electronic flight progress strip management system, activation of Mode S data link, ATC operational trainings, hardware and software system upgrade, etc.”
He said “in addition, the Agency implemented Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) at Lagos and Kano as backup to the existing Total Radar Coverage surveillance system for the entire Nigerian airspace.”
Furthermore, he said “NAMA in currently implementing Wide Area Multilateration in the Niger Delta for Low Flying Helicopters. The WAM project also includes an Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management System (UTM) for the monitoring and control of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems” he stated.