The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency NAMA has completed the deployment of the safe Tower automated system just as the agency has ordered its engineers to commence Site Acceptance Test of the equipment. Speaking during its opening remarks at the Site Acceptance Test of the Kano Safe Tower Project which coincided with the Automatic Dependent Surveillance and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication system (ADS-C/ CPDLC) training in Kano recently, the Managing Director of NAMA, Engr. Abdulsalam Ibrahim said that, the completion of the project was delayed in Kano as a new Control Tower had to be constructed.
He also added that the construction of the new Kano Control Tower was further delayed by the death of the contractor and eventual legal issues arising therefrom. “Today marks a very historic day in our strategic effort towards transforming the provision of air navigation services.
This statement is in view of the major milestones is being accomplished today with the conduct of the Site Acceptance Test of the new Kano Safe Tower project, as well as the CPDLC training”, Engr. Abdulsalam said. While assuring that the successful outcome of the Site Acceptance Test will lead to the commencement of air traffic control operations from the new Kano Control Tower, the NAMA MD pointed out that the main deliverables of the Kano Safe Tower project include: Paperless or Electronic Strip system, Automated ATM system with 4 working positions for Aerodrome Control, Ground Control, Approach Control and Flight Data Operator position, VHF Radio systems (mains and standby) for all working positions and Voice Communications and Control System (VCCS) Other deliverables according to Engr. Abdulsalam include: ATC Voice Recording System, ATC Aldis Lamp, Automated Weather Reporting and Display Systems, Vertical Wind Shear Alerting System, Automated Flight Planning System, Radar Monitor for Enhanced Air Traffic Situation, GPS Time system, ATC Data Archiving System, Flight Planning System, etc.
The main benefits of the completed Kano Safe Tower project according to him are: use of electronic or paperless flight progress strips, effective and efficient flight planning, reduction in ATC workload, Additional ATC work positions for Ground and Approach Control, availability of a Radar Monitoring system for enhanced Air Traffic situation awareness, automated data storage for effective billing, availability of meteorological information online and real time and vertical wind shear alerting system amongst others. On ADS-C/CPDLC) training, Engr Abdulsalam said “another milestone being recorded today is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication system (ADS-C/CPDLC) training commencing today for Kano ACC”.
Abdulsalam noted that it was due to NAMA’s strategic efforts towards addressing the challenges of long range air – ground communications that the agency signed a contract with SITA on 7th January 2015 for the deployment of satellite based surveillance and communication systems (ADS-C/CPDLC) in Lagos and Kano.
“The major deliverables of the ADSC/ CPDLC project are that are that the project will deliver Automatic Dependent Surveillance Systems at Lagos and Kano with capacity for long range surveillance that would back up the TRACON Radar system; the project will also deliver Data Link Communication systems at Lagos and Kano for long range air – ground data communication covering the entire Nigerian airspace and beyond”, Abdulsalam said, He pointed out that some of the achievements NAMA has made so far include: Factory Acceptance Test conducted at SITA Training Facility in Paris, France, in June 2015; two weeks ATC Operational Trainings for six Lagos ATC Trainers at SITA Training Facility in Paris, France, in June 2015; two weeks ATC Operational Trainings for six Kano ATC Trainers at SITA Training Facility in Paris, France, in June 2015; two weeks Technical Trainings for six Lagos ATSEP Trainers at SITA Training Facility in Paris, France, in June 2015 and two weeks Technical Trainings for six Kano ATSEP Trainers at SITA Training Facility in Paris, France, in June 2015, According to NAMA boss, the agency has been able to do Pre-Shipment Inspection conducted in June 2015 prior to shipment of the systems to Lagos and Kano and also an in-house ATC Operational training of Kano and Lagos ATCOs to augment the 12 officers trained in Paris, etc.
He said “The benefits of the ADSC/ CPDLC Project includes provision of extended range communication that would ensure effective ATM delivery within the Nigerian airspace, reduced ATC and Pilot workload, enhanced safety through accuracy and efficiency communication between ATC and flight crew, “It also enhances ATM and airspace capacity, reduces flight delays, flight times, fuel burnt and C02 emissions, provides cost effective surveillance and data communication, eliminate air – ground communication blind spots within our airspace and provides effective coverage over the oceanic airspace amongst others.
“The current deployment of ADS-C and CPDLC is expected to significantly enhance flight operations especially over the North Eastern part of the country where the insecurity situation has severely affected the provision of surveillance and communication services. Likewise the deployment of ADS-C and CPDLC would also ensure adequate surveillance and communication coverage over the oceanic airspace. Finally, the deployment of these facilities will greatly enhance safety, efficiency and economy of flight operations within our airspace”, Abdulsalam said.
The Union recalls that the Safe Tower Project was conceived in 2006 by the Obasanjo regime with the aim of automating the provision of air traffic services at Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Control Towers. The project was successfully completed in Abuja and Lagos in 2007, while Port Harcourt was completed in 2008.
Following the completion of the construction of the new Kano Control Tower in November 2014, NAMA promptly mobilised AVSATEL to site for the deployment of the Safe Tower automated ATM and Meteorological systems in January 2015. Shortly after AVSATEL mobilised to site, the Kano Safe Tower project suffered yet another delay as some of the equipment which have been in the warehouse since 2007, had gone obsolete and had to be replaced at additional cost.