From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has canvassed for partnership and support from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in the training of critical manpower of Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in the AFI Region.
The agency’s Managing Director of NAMA Capt. Fola Akinkuotu made the request when he received IATA’s Manager for Safety and Flight Operations- ATM Infrastructure Focus for West and Central Africa, Mr Yassine El Charkaoui in Lagos.
He said “such a gesture would be a win-win for everyone as beneficiaries of the training will be better equipped, better informed and will be in a situation where they will be able to offer better services to the airlines in the discharge of their duties.”
Akinkuotu called for more understanding of the situation of ANSPs in the sub-region by the international body on the issue of navigational charges, saying there is the need to consider the cost factors in some areas particularly Nigeria in arriving at a conclusion as to whether charges are high or not.
He explained that “A lot of our equipment are in remote areas which we have to support 24/7 on alternative means of electricity, even some are off the national grid, and powering these stations comes at a cost.”
The NAMA boss said the continuous dialogue and synergy between IATA and the agency was an indication that both organizations are desirous of a safer airspace, adding that a safer airspace would impact positively on the industry.
“The safer the airspace, the more passengers we can attract as more people would feel that air travel is truly the safest means of transportation.” he added.
Mr El Charkaoui said his meeting with the agency was pursuant to the Collaborative Decision Making initiative which seeks to improve operational efficiency of operators, increase capacity and also optimize the utilization of resources.
He said the meeting with NAMA would afford the agency the opportunity to share its current and future plans for air traffic management infrastructure with IATA and to ensure that the opinion of airlines is taken into consideration in the deployment of new technologies.
El Charkaoui noted that while ANSPs are implementing or embarking on new initiatives, there is the need to consider the position of IATA to ensure that navigational aids on ground match what is in the air in terms of aircraft capabilities and onboard equipment, adding that airlines need to be informed and consulted at an early stage about any potential future charges which could be borne by them as a result of the deployment of these technologies.
On the other hand, he said the onus is on the airlines to provide their future plans to ANSPs in terms of fleet expansion, type of aircraft to be acquired and timelines.