Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) says the agency is committed to sustaining the zero accident recorded by Nigeria commercial aviation industry in 2017.
Akinkuotu gave the assurance while speaking with aviation journalists on Sunday in Lagos.
“Zero accident is a goal that we must always strive to achieve. I believe that we had done well with the zero accident recorded in 2017 but we must not be carried away by that feat.
“It is always more difficult to sustain it and that is why we must not rest on our oars,” he said.
Akinkuotu noted that effective communication between pilots and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs), upgrade of Navigational Aids and Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) at the airports were pivotal to safety.
“NAMA has made great contributions to air safety. Without NAMA; I tell you, aviation will not be what it is today because safety is very critical to aviation.
“Without ATCs, there will be chaos in the air so the contribution of the agency is enormous,” he added.
According to him, the agency has procured some modern communication equipment which will arrive next month.
He said that they would improve communications between pilots and the control towers when installed and become operational.
Akinkuotu said ILS Category 3 would soon be installed at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Maiduguri Airport, to enhance visibility.
The NAMA boss said the agency also recently engaged no fewer than 30 persons who were currently undergoing ATC training at the Nigeria College of Aviation, Zaria.
“We are addressing ATC manpower aggressively because they are critical to the sector.
“We want to beef up our capacity by bringing in younger people and also encouraging knowledge transfer from our experienced personnel to younger ones, “he said.
Akinkuotu also disclosed that the debt owed NAMA by domestic airlines for services provided was “huge”.
He said that the agency was making efforts to ensure that it was cleared.
He said: “NAMA is not a profit making organisation but a cost-recovery one.
“Really, we understand the financial situations of domestic airlines, but for us to provide better services, they must still pay for the services that we had rendered to them.
“A workman deserves his wage.”
The NAMA chief said the agency had introduced a “Pay As You Go” strategy for the airlines.
He said that this had been difficult to be fully implemented by airliners as it had sometimes led to flight delays and complaints by passengers.