BusinessDay

FG acquires N1.7bn mobile control towers to boost air safety

The Federal Government has acquired and commissioned two mobile control towers worth N1.7 billion in a bid to enhance safety in the Nigerian aviation industry.

The two pieces of equipment which would be deployed to the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and any other airport that may require the facility would be used by Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs), a department in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for air and ground communication.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation commissioned the equipment at the Lagos Airport on Thursday evening.

Sirika reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to deepen air safety in the country, stressing that apart from this, the government through the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on numerous occasions approved sums that had boosted safety in the sector.

He said: “The intent and purpose of the ministry and what we have been doing is to ensure safety and efficiency of our sector without degrading and de-emphasising issues of security and comfort.

“So, how very safe you depart Point A and land in Point B is our primary concern and primary importance. This is an extension of that intent and purpose and so the amount of N1.7 billion has been spent in procuring these mobile towers.

“We will use it in Lagos and Abuja and if need be, we take them to locations where they do not have conventional control towers. They are so equipped, so modernised, so efficient and so very alive. It has everything that a control tower can have.”

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He commended the management of NAMA, led by Fola Akinkuotu for being proactive on the request to procure the equipment, adding that President Buhari was again generous to give the approval for the procurement.

Also speaking on the occasion, Akinkuotu said that the mobile towers would be useful during emergency operations.

Akinkuotu also commended Sirika for presenting the request to FEC, noting that the minister had partnered with the agencies and other organisations to move it forward since his appointment.

Some of the features of the control towers according to the minister include real-time weather indicators, approach and departure procedures and over-flight facility. This would ensure smooth flight operations and air traffic management.

A mobile control tower has almost the same capabilities as a fixed control tower. Control is carried out through ground/ground and ground/air communication units by radio, on Very High Frequency (VHF), Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and/or High Frequency (HF).