The Federal Government has been advised to rule out the privatisation of Air Traffic Control (ATC) due to safety issues of the airspace in the country.
This was contained in a statement issued by Mr Marcel Onwuakpa, Airspace Manager, Port Harcourt International Airport, to aviation correspondents on Sunday in Lagos.
Onwuakpa said that it might be impossible to privatise the ATC in Nigeria because it is more of a safety and security job.
“We the controllers did not subscribe to the privatisation of ATC in the country as a result of safety concern.
“It is more of a security job which should not be left in the hand of the private sector,” he said.
He said that the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) system was working perfectly capable of capturing aircraft from 150 nautical miles on a secondary target.
The airspace manager explained that with the TRACON on board, air traffic control had become seamless with targets getting easier to identify.
According to him, aircraft separation has become very easy, congestions reduced while it has also become economical to airlines as it saves time and money for them.
He urged the Federal Government to address the shortage of ATC manpower in the system, adding that they were grossly inadequate to cope with the system.
Onwuakpa decried the frequent power outage at the airport in the past three months, saying that it had become the major problem that had affected their equipment.
He commended the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) management for providing alternative power.
He advised airlines to contribute to NAMA’s seamless air traffic control by acquiring aircraft that were standard fitted with gadgets.
Also, the Airspace Manager, Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Mr Igwebuike Denwigwe, said that it would be tedious for the ATC to cope with its job when the airport begins a 24-hour operation.
Denwigwe noted that the challenges facing the Owerri airport included the shortage of manpower, regular supply of electricity and lack of accommodation for staff within the airport.
He urged airspace users to pay for services provided for them by NAMA to enable the agency render more services to them.
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