We have not abandoned AIS automation — NAMA

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has strongly defended the implementation of Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) automation, insisting that the project has not been abandoned.

Speaking for NAMA, the spokesperson, Mr Khalid Emele said the declaration  by the Aeronautical Information Management Association of Nigeria (AIMAN) that “NAMA management had neglected the implementation of the AIS Automation, thereby exposing its personnel to COVID-19 pandemic,” was far from the truth.

A general manager at the agency who is also in charge of AIS in Nigeria, Kabir Yahaya Gusau in a chat with reporters in Lagos, that the AIS automation project had taken too long, suggesting that there maybe something not included in the contract that was delaying the project completion.

But Emele in defence of NAMA on the AIS automation contract, explained that the contract which was signed since 2009 and without prejudice to previous efforts the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through the leadership of the Minister, Senator HadiSirika had made remarkable interventions targeted at actualising the AIS Automation project.

These interventions, he reiterated came by way of granting an approval of funding for the project which never happened in the past, stressing that the agency on its part had never relented in its bid to actualise this dream.

According to Emele, “the objective of the AIS was to ensure the flow of information necessary for the safety, regularity and efficiency of international air navigation. When completed, it will enhance air to ground and ground to ground information and boost interconnectivity between aircraft and air traffic controllers. The non automation of the AIS has made it very difficult for the adoption and usage of e-flight planning, e-reception of raw data.

”The joint pilot briefing offices where the AIS automation will operate from are simultaneously being installed with eight offices fully completed. Just yesterday, another batch of equipment for installation landed at the seaport and is being cleared in Lagos.”

Explaining the cause of delay in implementing the project eleven years after the idea was conceptualised, NAMA attributed this to its desire to fast-track the automation project saying: “the contractor was recently mandated to air-freight Kano and Kaduna master VSAT equipment for immediate installation instead of shipping.

“Furthermore, the Aeronautical Message Handling System (AMHS) and AIS database have been manufactured and are ready for shipment. The point must also be made that management has vigorously pursued the training and retraining of different categories of AIS staff preparatory to the take-off of automation”.

“While several batches of personnel have undergone factory training at different times, other AIS staff has equally been trained at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, (NCAT) Zaria to ensure they are at par with their colleagues worldwide.”

 

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