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PARIS, OCTOBER 25, 2016: (DGW) The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) has called on  the Federal Government  to  urgently fix air communication facilities in the Nigerian airspace.
It said the poor state of such facilities required an emergency to ensure that safety was not compromised.
NATCA  President , Victor Eyaru revealed that air traffic controllers have consistently received complaints of poor communication by pilots using the airspace, adding that the  equipment that ought to facilitate  controller-pilot very high frequency communication coverage was far below the  required standard.
Such equipment gap, if not addressed, Eyaru said, could constitute a threat to air safety. He  predicated his concern  on the  observation of pilots, aircraft and passengers that fly within Nigerian airspace, pointing out that  on daily basis, Nigeria was losing  enormous revenue in foreign exchange because many aircraft  avoid Nigerian airspace due to poor communication facilities.
Poor communication equipment being used by air traffic controllers, Eyaru said, has resulted in workers being overworked. 
“We  call on the Federal Government to investigate these claims by involving the end users (Pilots’ Association) and also request  urgent reforms within three months.

After this period, the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers may be left with no option than to take necessary actions.”
He  said the radar equipment otherwise known as Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria  (TRACON’s) working condition was appalling on account of  frequent failures, adding that the lifespan of the equipment had expired,  requiring  urgent replacement or upgrade. 
He said  the replacement and upgrade  of the total radar coverage should involve Air Traffic Controllers. He  decried the  lip service being paid to the  shortage of air traffic controllers, adding that urgent action was required.
Eyaru  said statistics available to the association indicated that  Nigeria had  less than the required number of air traffic controllers.
According to him, the South African Air Traffic Navigation Service (ATNS) , has pver 1, 076  air traffic controllers, 500 Area Control Centres and  two airport control towers, whereas the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) operate with 2, 500 personnel, 300 air traffic controllers  with two Area Control Centres and 32 control towers.
He  called on the Federal Government and NAMA to immediately recruit more Air Traffic Controllers in the interest of air safety.
He described as unacceptable the failure of aviation agencies to employ more air traffic controllers


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