The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on Monday announced that it has successfully installed a new Category II (CAT II) Instrument Landing System/ Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, located in the country’s South East region, reports The Sun News Online
Following a series of successful acceptance tests by NAMA engineers, the new instruments were installed to replace the old system which was set up since 2003, pending successful calibration in the coming days.
The new ILS/DME instruments form a radio navigation system which will provide aircraft with horizontal and vertical precision just before and during landing and, at certain fixed points.
NAMA also installed Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) for satellite communication at the airport to address communication blind spots in the Lagos South-East corridor.
The new SATCOM node has further been integrated into the Nigerian SATCOM network which is linked to the broader AFI Regional SATCOM infrastructure (AFISNET) for provision of extended coverage. The AFISNET is provided to ensure seamless operation and interoperability among the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) for the enhancement of Air Safety.
Commenting on the installation, Managing Director of NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu said: “The installation of the VHF radio in Enugu was particularly significant as the city is strategically located to accommodate over six routes, both local and international.”
“Enugu, being on a higher latitude, can cover for Manfe entry/exit reporting point in Cameroun for international flights like Ethiopian, Rwanda Airlines, Kenya Airways, South Africa Airways and the like.”
Akinkuotu further disclosed that the new system had provided an Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTNlink) which helps in the dissemination of Aeronautical messages among airports and/or airlines. Such messages may include flight plans, NOTAMS, METEO and other administrative messages.
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika has promised the reopening in April 2020 of flight operations at the airport if the required funds are available. The airport was shut down in August 2019 by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for the rehabilitation of its dilapidated runway.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.