The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has attributed the creation of new routes to the reason some aspect of the country’s airspace remained unsafe for flying.

The agency, however, said concerted efforts were being made to improve the situation.

A statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs, NAMA, Mr. Khalid Emele, stated that the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, stated this today in Lagos when he received the management of Ibom Air, led by erstwhile Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. George Uriesi.

According to the statement, Akinkuotu said although the last phase, which was the area control or upper airspace communication, may have a few challenges, but said it was due to the creation of new routes.

The statement said NAMA was making concerted efforts to address these challenges, one of which was the deployment of the Total VHF Coverage of Nigeria in 2010, which he said was limited by the architecture of eight VHF remote radio stations deployed then.

This was in apparent response to the claim by some pilots in the country that some aspects of the nation’s airspace was unsafe for flying.

Akinkuotu assured the flying public and pilots that the nation’s airspace was safe for seamless and economic air navigation.

He explained that the agency had taken drastic steps to tackle communication challenges especially in the upper airspace in the past couple of years, saying that significant progress was being made in that direction.

It would be recalled that the Chief Pilot of Med-View Airline had at the Aviation Round Table (ART) breakfast meeting in Lagos last week claimed that the airspace remained unsafe for flying.

According to him, pilots still fly blind in some parts of the airspace between Lagos and Abuja and Port Harcourt, saying that the radio communication in that axis was poor and irresponsible.

Akinkuotu declared that since he assumed duties over two years ago, he had seen to the upgrading of communication infrastructure in phases.

According to him, radio communication in the ground control, covering 65 nautical miles at the 32 air traffic control units in Nigerian airports was perfect and this was done under phase one of the project.

He added that the second phase, which was the tower control, also covering 65 nautical miles and critical for landing and takeoff, was equally working optimally in all the 32 airports in the country.

The third phase which he referred to as “approach communication,” covering up to 130 nautical miles, according to him, was working perfectly in all the 32 air traffic control units in the country.

Akinkuotu admitted that although the last phase, which was the Area Control or Upper Airspace Communication, may have a few challenges, but attributed this to the creation of new routes.

He explained that the agency was making concerted efforts to address these challenges, one of which was the deployment of the Total VHF Coverage of Nigeria in 2010, which he said was limited by the architecture of 8 VHF remote radio stations deployed then.

He added that the agency had just taken delivery of Extended Range VHF radio systems to replace old the radios in 8 remote sites, while six more are to be added, making them 14 in number.

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