As part of plans to ensure effective coverage of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s airspace, the federal government of Nigeria has announced its readiness to collaborate with five neighbouring countries namely Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Togo and Niger Republic.
Under the proposed arrangement, aircraft approaching Nigeria could be tracked before entering the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s airspace.
NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Aviation Minister, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba, who made this known at the weekend shortly on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos after his two-day visit to Thales of France, the contractor handling the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), said the collaboration was aimed at ensuring safety and security of aircraft flying into and out of Nigeria.
He said the latest step became necessary because of long range capability of the new radar facility which will overlap with those of the neighbouring countries for comprehensive coverage of the airspace.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are exploring cooperation between Nigeria and Chad, Niger and Cameroon because once our radar becomes operational, those radar are going to overlap with that of those countries.
With our cooperation, you can sit in Kano and see aircraft in Niger, in Cameroun, in Ghana and in Togo, and all these will be made possible by November.Ã¢â‚¬Â
According to the minister, ”both Abuja and Lagos primary and secondary radar are fully operational and the risk of air misses are now reduced in the country”.
The minister disclosed that radar components for other stations including Kano and Port Harcourt airports were inspected at the Thales’ manufacturing base, saying they were going to be ready soon and shipped into the country by June this year.
Omotoba who described his two-day trip to France as successful, said he was able to explore areas of co-operation between the two countries, particularly on the-job-training for air traffic controllers and acquisition of new navigational equipment for the nation’s airports.
He also disclosed that Thales would be supplying four brand new Instrument Landing Systems [ILS] for airports in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu, adding that efforts were on to complete the total VHF radio coverage of the country this year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We also explored area of cooperation between Nigerian and France in sending out ATC on secondment, and next week we are going to get a quotation on how much it will cost, and we are sending them in batches to ensure that we train them properly’,’ the Minister further explained.