AM EDITORIAL: Air Navigation Technologies Upgrade: The World Is Not Waiting For Nigeria

Season after Season, new and emerging technologies that can provide enablement for air traffic management and air navigation services are transcending the current levels of training that air traffic controllers and other air navigation services personnel are being given.

This is challenging, considering the funds constraints of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the fact that the evolution of these enabling technologies will not tarry to allow Nigeria play catch ups.

Four years after the initial disruptive covid experience, the world in adaptation and investment in modern technologies, is not waiting for any country that places orders for air navigation and air traffic control equipment and waits for the equipment to go obsolete before taking delivery without any benefit at the end of the day.

Apart from forcing the aviation industry and other sectors of the economy to embrace technology more than ever, the covid19 experience had amplified health issues for aviation professionals and emphasized the need for training, data and effective data management, information sharing and so on.

In times like these, it is only reasonable to secure the mental health of air traffic controllers, engineers, pilots and other aviation professionals by providing for them, appropriate trainings, good welfare package and modern functional equipment across areas where they operate.

In the embrace of new technologies being advocated, capacity is one of the key considerations. Air traffic controllers and other air navigation service providers need additional training as a response to increasingly threatening terrorist attacks, cyber security threats and other emerging vices.

With the volume of investment required here, it has become obvious that the existing financing scheme on airspace infrastructure requires review and that there is need to develop reliable and stable financing systems to sustain investments and continuously provide safety technical infrastructure while enabling enough funds for training and staff welfare. This makes it absolutely necessary for the federal government to give a second look to the annual remittance of 40% of revenue by NAMA to the national treasury.

The former Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development had two years ago, projected the domestic manufacturing of aircraft in Nigeria. Although this was not achieved, it is necessary to begin to consider in-house development of some air navigation tools rather than importing everything.

In the light of growing security and safety issues in Nigeria and the criticality of safety in airspace administration and management, we insist that industry leadership decisions and actions towards air navigation equipment acquisition, safety personnel training and welfare should be executed with the intensity of speed and urgency that they presently require in the interest of sustained safety, growth and development of the aviation sector.AM

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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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