Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), hosting a flying Lufthansa aircraft and grazing herd of cattle under an attentive herdsman.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has declared the Federal Government’s readiness to implement Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for wholesome flight safety enhancement.
Making the declaration at the SBAS Flight Demonstration and Outreach Prgramme on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Minister explained that the implementation of the SBAS would enhance accuracy, integrity, reliability, availability and continuity of air navigation service in continental, remote continental and oceanic airspaces.
The implementation of the SBAS in Nigeria, according to him, will help the country to survive the prevailing global economic and security challenges in the aviation sector.
“The programme could not have come at a better time than now when the aviation industry is desperately seeking for safe, efficient and cost-effective ways of recovering from the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Therefore, to support the aviation industry to attain full recovery and resilience, strategic measures must be implemented to enhance safety, efficiency, capacity, cost effectiveness, interoperability, seamlessness, access and equity, as well as environmental sustainability.
“In the course of this workshop you will be enlightened on how the above strategic objectives can be achieved with SBAS implementation at all phases of flight,” Sirika said.
He said the necessity for implementation of the SBAS in Nigeria and the African region at large could not be overemphasised, regarding the high cost of installing, maintaining and calibrating ground navigational facilities at less busy airports.
He noted that the African Union Agenda 2063 identified regional connectivity as the catalysts for the growth, expansion and development of the African region.
He added that the African Union Commission (AUC) recommended the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) to facilitate the attainment of the Yamoussoukro declaration.
“The successful implementation of the SAATM is predicated on the implementation of the Single African Sky that will require the application of SBAS for a seamless airspace within the African region.
“Therefore, the planned demonstration flight and the brainstorming sessions that will take place during this event, will no doubt give further assurances on expected benefits of SBAS to Africa and the rest of the world,” he said.
Contributing, the Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Pwajok Lawrence, said that the objective of the SBAS flight demonstration and outreach workshop was to provide a forum for collaboration.
The event, according to him, aimed at demonstrating the use of SBAS service for en route navigation, terminal approach and landing to provide proof of concept on availability, reliability, accuracy and integrity of service for safe and efficient flight operations.
Lawrence explained that there were many benefits the nation would derive from implementation of the SBAS in the aviation sector.
“Expected benefits of SBAS implementation include- enhancement of airspace capacity and utilisation, increased accessibility into remote airspace or aerodromes, higher level of accuracy, integrity, reliability, availability and continuity.
“Reduction of operational and maintenance cost for air navigation service providers, enhancement of ATM (Air Traffic Management) Capacity, reduction in flight delays and flight times, reduction in flight time, reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
“Also, reduction of pilot and air traffic control workload, enhancement of safety and efficiency of flight operations, implementation of continuous climb and continuous descent operations, supporting of low flying helicopters in the coastal areas,” he said.
Others, according to him, are flights over remote continental airspace, flights over oceanic airspace, the SBAS will support Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM), increasing airspace capacity and utilisation, enhancing search and rescue, increasing airspace capacity and reducing Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) risk/accident.
He added that the implementation of the SBAS will reduce delays, diversions and cancellations due to weather conditions, reduce flight crew workload by eliminating RAIM prediction requirements and to avail airlines with optimum flight trajectories.
The programme was hosted by Nigeria – NAMA, NigComSat Limited and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) – in conjunction with international partners such as the Joint Programme Office of the Satellite Navigation for Africa.
Other parts of the international partnerships are the European Union Global Action on Space and Augmented Navigation for Africa (ANGA), among others.
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