Members of National Air Traffic Communicators Association of Nigeria (NACAN) have cried out over non-functional radio equipment in some stations and airports across the country.
Speaking in an interview at the just concluded fifth Annual General Meeting held in Benin City, Edo State, President of NACAN, Comrade Nkambo George, disclosed that it is difficult for some stations to read one another beyond 9am and 10am in some cases.
According to Nkambo, the situation has led to the use of telephone lines, which ought to be the back-up, as the primary source.
He said the southern network with the High Frequency (HF) radios deployed as a stopgap to assist HF, modulates from frequency to frequency and causes delay in messages as long as the network is bad.
“We have resorted to telephones. We use this close user group telephone line, which ought to be the back-up. It’s more or less the major equipment we are using now in most communication centres, except for Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt where Alt is still functional.
“Normally, messages are not supposed to be delayed; when you receive a message, it ought to go. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommends that three minutes or at most five minutes as you receive a message, let it be sent out. So you receive backlog of messages in some centres as a result of equipment malfunction,” he said.
He noted that in some centres, the radios were not functioning at all, stating that it is not good for the image of the association.
However, on manpower, Nkambo commended the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for the transformation in the system through training of its personnel since Captain Fola Akinkuotu took over as the helmsman of the agency.
Nkambo revealed that 40 of its members were undergoing training at the Nigerian College of Aviation in Zaria, while 16 graduated in August this year. He, however, said 28 members were yet to be trained.
According to the NACAN boss, the non-employment into the department in the past two decades had negatively affected communicators and called on the government to commence the recruitment of between 20 and 50 personnel every year to fill the gap. He disclosed that 27 staff would be retiring in January next year, which he declared would also affect the department as the newly recruited personnel had no job experience.
Meanwhile, the management of NAMA has said that the provision of relevant technology is important for professionals to perform their roles.
Ayodele Otitolaye, who represented the Managing Director of NAMA at the event, gave the assurance that the management would continue to provide modern facilities required to perform the task of air navigational services.
According to Otitolaye, the issue of inadequate manpower due to aging workforce is being addressed gradually across all sections of the agency.
SOURCE :sahara reporters (news)