NAMA Trains 36 ATCs In Six Months
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Engr. Lawrence Pwajok says NAMA had trained at least 36 Air Traffic Controller Officers (ATCOs) in various courses and countries in the last six months.
Pwajok revealed this at the 51th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA), held in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The breakdown of the training indicated that 16 ATCOs were trained in Basic Procedure Design and Airspace Planning in Cairo, Egypt in the first quarter of 2022, while an additional 12 were trained in Nairobi, Kenya in Search and Rescue Mission Operation within the same period. Also, eight ATCOs travelled to Czech Republic for the Multilateration (MLAT) operational training in the first quarter of 2022.
Pwajok added that as part of the requirements for the development of capacity for the production of maps and charts including Visual Flight Rules (VFR) charts, some staff of the agency just returned from Cairo for training.
He stated that these were tailored towards achieving a seamless conduct of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) for the country.
According to Pwajok, NAMA had also trained 16 ATCOS in the Phase Two of the Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) in Paris, France, while additional 20 is slated for training in Cairo in the next two months. He equally said that an additional 12 ATCOS were set to undergo Search and Rescue Mission Coordinators’ Training course in Nairobi, Kenya before the end of the year.
“To enhance ATCOS capacity to handle data generated at their own work stations, 15 ATCOS are to be trained in ATC Data and Statistical Management,” he added.
Pwajok who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Jubril Haske, NAMA’s Acting Director of Operations said that several of the current controllers would retire from the system by 2028 and so, NAMA has plans to recruit additional 100 Air Traffic Controller Officers (ATCOs) to tackle the impeding shortage of controllers in the country.
The agency also said that already no fewer than 40 ATCO cadets are undergoing training at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria in a bid to fill the expected vacuum in the next six years.
According to Pwajok, the management had envisaged a gap in the number of ATCOs and had put in place plan to recruit at least 100 personnel between 2022 and 2028.
The ongoing training of 40 cadets, NAMA said was apart from the 100 personnel planned for the agency by 2028.
Pwajok added that NAMA management had absorbed additional six ATCOS trained by Niger Delta Development Commission into the agency to address the expected shortage.
He said: “Management is aware of the current and impending shortage of Air Traffic Controllers due to retirement, death and unrelenting increase in the number of airports around the country.
“Management is also aware of the pressure that shortage has been exerting and may further exerting on your members. Let me assure you that we are already working to ensure that the situation does not become an emergency.
“Presently, a Basic ATC Course is running in NCAT Zaria for 40 Cadets and very soon, another set will resume as soon as Zaria has space. This is besides efforts at obtaining approval to recruit additional 100 Air Traffic Controllers for strategic replacement of ATCOS that will retire from service up to 2028.”
Speaking during his welcome address, the President of NATCA, Abayomi Agoro said, NATCA wanted the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to accelerate the confirmation of the Acting Managing Director as the substantive Managing Director/Chief Executive of the agency. He said his association was impressed by the performance of the new management team in NAMA led by Pwajok and put in place by Sirika, stressing that “we speak for majority of our members in soliciting that the Honourable Minister of Aviation graciously extend his usual Midas touch in seeking the confirmation of Mr Matthew Lawrence Pwajok as the substantive Managing Director/Chief Executive of NAMA.”
Agoro who lauded the new management team under Pwajok for the progress being made in the upgrade of navigational infrastructure across the country noted that “the Air Traffic Controller remained the centerpiece in the changes and improvements being made in NAMA with the introduction of new procedures and even the deployment of newer solutions.”