Minister Keyamo Says He Wants Modern Equipment Installed In Nigeria’s Aviation Sector

Minister Keyamo Says He Wants Modern Equipment Installed In Nigeria’s Aviation Sector

“I have taken my time to come all the way because I want the best equipment for my country. I want the Nigerian aviation sector to compete favorably in terms of the installation of the latest equipment. That’s why I am here to take a tour and see the latest radar equipment in town.”

These were the words of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo (SAN) during his current working visit to Thales, the renowned France-based global air surveillance radar provider.

A statement signed by Tunde Moshood, SA Media & Communications to the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development says “accompanied by his team, including aviation expert Layi Are, Minister Keyamo aims to initiate a comprehensive upgrade to the radar system of the Nigerian aviation industry. The ministerial delegation traveled to Rouen-Ymare, Thales’ headquarters, located two hours away from the French capital, to inspect and understand the functionality of the latest radar equipment.”

With a rich history dating back to its establishment in the Netherlands in 1938, Thales has played a pivotal role in radar system installations globally, integrating its services into France in the early 50s and in Germany in 1963.

Moshood said “the Vice President of Thales in charge of Civil Radars Segment, Lionel DE Castellane, warmly welcomed the Honourable Minister and guided him through the inspection of facilities. Castellane highlighted the urgent need for the upgrade of Total Radar Coverage of Nigerian airport facilities, especially at major airports such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu, and Port-Harcourt. He drew attention to the ongoing TRACON (Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria) project, initiated 18 years ago, emphasizing the need for urgent modernization.

Castellane informed the Minister that Phase 1 of the TRACON project, initially signed with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in 2022, is 80% complete and scheduled for completion by May 2024. He disclosed that discussions on financing arrangements for the second and third phases are underway.

Recognizing the financial magnitude of the project, Thales has secured a loan facility of €30.6 million from Commerzbank Group, a German financial institution, with the French Guarantee Agency providing backup support, “we’re only waiting for the Nigerian government to give us the nod to formalize the financing arrangements. Even as we speak, the Commerzbank Director here in France is a call away anytime. She’s ready to travel to Nigeria for the formalities”, Costallane said.

Following an extensive and insightful presentation, the Minister was presented with a beautiful radar system model as a token of appreciation for his visit.”

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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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