FG upgrades navigational facilities in Enugu airport ahead reopening

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Babalola Gbolahan

Earlier this month, following the inspection of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika announced the completion and reopening of the airport before the Easter deadline.

The Federal Government has made good its promise to upgrade facilities at the airport as the build up to the reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu gathers momentum.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has successfully installed a brand-new CAT 2 Instrument Landing System / Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) to replace the old system which was installed since 2003. Also a successful site acceptance test on the equipment has been conducted by NAMA engineers in Enugu in preparation for its calibration in the coming days.

Meanwhile, in a bid to address communication blind spots in the Lagos South East corridor, the agency has installed a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) for satellite communication at the airport, adding that the SATCOM (Satellite Communication) node has further been integrated into the national satellite communication network which is linked to the AFISNET (African Indian Ocean SATCOM Network).

Also compared to the VSAT is the newly installed Remote Control Air-Ground (RCAG) Very High Frequency (VHF) radio communication system, ensuring that Enugu now has an extended VHF coverage on 127.3MHz  frequency for Lagos South East sector.

Speaking on the gains of this latest installation, Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu who noted with delight that radio communication along the Lagos South East sector has “improved tremendously,” said the installation of the VHF radio in Enugu is “particularly significant as the city is strategically located to accommodate over six routes, both local and international.”

“Enugu being on 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 said.

The NAMA boss revealed that the new installation has provided AFTN (Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network) link that would enhance effective data communication for transmission of flight plans, NOTAMs and Aeronautical Communication messages, just as it has provided effective coordination between Enugu tower and Lagos Area Control Centre through the ATS/DS (Air Traffic Services/ Direct Speech) for departing and arriving traffic ahead of time.