Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the umbrella body of indigenous airlines, has promised to adopt the Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) once the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) implements it.
The Vice Chairman of AON, Mr. Allen Onyema, disclosed this in Lagos during an interview with Nairametrics.
He said that the country’s indigenous airlines would embrace the latest technology by integrating the equipment onboard their aircraft. Also, pilots would be trained and certified by Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on how to use it.
Onyema commended the efforts of NAMA at upgrading the country’s navigational system, reiterating that the facility would help the airlines to reduce costs, especially aviation fuel, which has hit about N800 per litre in recent times. He said:
- “I am not a technical person, everything has been said, but we are curious with a tinge of excitement about what African aviation is about to experience. The adoption of SBAS in Africa is something that should be welcome by everybody. We in AON, pledge our support, and we pledge our collaboration to this end.
- “I’d like to let you know that Nigeria will not be left behind in the pursuit of safer skies. I am happy it is not mandatory, but for us, even if it is not mandatory, if it is going to cut costs for us, if it’s going to enhance safety, we are in for it.”
MAMA’s assurance: Meanwhile, the Ag. Managing Director of NAMA, Mr. Matthew Pwajok, assured that the agency would not decommission the existing Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) at various airports and stations. Instead, he said the equipment would stand as a backup for the existing technologies.
- “We have satellite means of communication, we have terrestrial communication systems. For our surveillance, we have ground surveillance radar and satellite surveillance. We are providing adequate backups for our system.
- “In some airports maybe we have issues with the ground landing instruments that will not be enough for them to divert or wait. They can use an alternative satellite navigation system to be able to land. It is going to be at the discretion of airlines, we are not going to force any airline to have to fit it in. If you are comfortable with instrument landing equipment, we are going to deploy it and we do that as a requirement to have a backup for every service we provide,” he said.
What you should know: An operational SBAS helps to improve the accuracy, integrity, and availability of standalone GNSS, or what is traditionally known as Global Positioning System (GPS).
- The facility achieves increased accuracy through correction signals, which are derived from data collected from a ground reference station network.
- SBAS was recently test-run at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja by NAMA with its calibration aircraft Beechcraft King Air 350i in collaboration with the Nigeria Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT).
- When the equipment finally comes on stream, it would go a long way to address airspace congestion, enhance flight accuracy and ensure aviation fuel consumption reduction by airlines by about 25%.
- SBAS is a correction service for standalone Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations and has been implemented in several regions around the world, including the United States, India, Europe, Japan, and others.