Nigeria scales migration test on satellite air navigation, as Emirates, KLM successfully test fly new procedures
WorldStage Newsonline-- Nigeria’s bold attempt to migrate from terrestrial air navigation to a satellite based navigation system, known as Performance Based Navigation (PBN) in the aviation circle has received a boost when two foreign airlines test fly the new approach procedures with pilots landing
successfully at the Lagos and Kano airports respectively.
Emirates Airlines was first to carry out the approach test on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in Lagos while KLM recorded same in Kano.
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport are listed among the first four major airports in the country to undergo the pilot scheme.
To operate on GNSS, aircraft are expected to be equipped with necessary prescribed gadgets on board for easy link with the satellite for seamless navigation and communication to designated airports.
The pilots of the two foreign airlines, while making approach to landing at these airports had little or no contact with the air traffic controllers except that they were under close watch and monitoring on the radar.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the managing director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Engineer Mazi Nnamdi Udoh described the development as a great achievement in the current drive of transforming the nation’s aviation industry by the federal government.
“With the success recorded in our quest of moving from terrestrial to a satellite based air navigation system, Nigeria has joined the league of big countries that are already operating the ICAO endorsed air navigation programme,” Udoh remarked.
NAMA boss explained that the operation of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) will save cost for the airlines as they would burn less fuel during take off and landing, reduction in carbon dioxide
emission and reduction in air traffic controllers’ load work.
NAMA commenced the transformation with the completion of the N360 million World Geodetic
Survey (WGS-84) of the country's 22 airports and the procedural design of the four major airports in 2010.
Sixty industry stake holders are currently undergoing training on the satellite based air navigation system PBN expert, under the tutelage of a renowned PBN expert, Ed Hajek from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Montreal, Canada.
Participants drawn from Air Traffic Controllers, Pilots, Nigerian Civil Aviation (NCAA), Nigerian
Air Force (NAF), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and the Presidential fleet.
NAMA is billed to train about 250 air traffic controllers on the PBN system.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had in 2007 endorsed the implementation of PBN in its Assembly Resolution 36/33 for all member States which include Nigeria.
NCAA and NAMA have worked together with the Boeing Company and IATA respectively to achieve
this great feat for Nigeria's PBN implementation.