The Federal Government through the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has promised that government would implement the outcome of International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Association (IFATCA) deliberations in Abuja.
IFATCA, the Minister said remains a critical stakeholder in the global aviation family. This is just as Sirika stated that government would partner with relevant stakeholders in the aviation industry to ensure the continuous safety and seamlessness of air navigation in the country.
Sirika made these remarks while declaring open the 29th International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Association (IFATCA) Africa and Middle East Regional Meeting at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
He stated that government was prepared to partner with the international body of air traffic controllers in a bid to ensure safe skies both in Nigeria and globally “given that the job of an air traffic controller is both crucial and critical to the overall safety of air travel.”
Sirika noted that in its determination to ensure that ATCs are proficient in their job, there has been a deliberate and aggressive effort by government in the area of operational manpower training and retraining.
He stressed that a total number of 86 ATCs have been trained and employed under his watch while 46 are currently undergoing training at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria. This is just as he another set of 40 ATCs trained by the Kano State Government have been absorbed into the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Sirika, who was accompanied to the event by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alh. Sabiu Zakari and heads of aviation agencies, assured the delegates that the Federal Government would implement the outcome of their deliberations as “IFATCA remains a critical stakeholder in the global aviation family.”
The Aviation Minister also said as part of effort to make the job of air traffic controllers more efficient and less cumbersome, government had earlier deployed ADS-C/CPDLC (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract/ Controller Pilot Data Link Communication) both in Kano and Lagos Area Control Centres (ACCs).
Earlier in his welcome address, the President of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Mr Victor Eyaru, said that the gathering would “focus mainly on intensifying efforts to achieving unbroken air safety within our region and beyond and this requires the collaborative effort across the borders to ensure seamless, safe and efficient air navigation.”
He lamented however that the Africa and Middle East region, which has more than 15 per global population contributes marginally to global air travel adding that the time had come for the region the put its act together and take up the challenge.
Also in his remarks, the President of IFATCA, Mr Patrick Peters noted that as a global body, the association has acted like a think-tank to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by providing invaluable recommendations to the body from the rich expertise of its members.
He charged ATCs to strive for excellence in order to make the profession contribute more meaningfully to the growth of the industry. Founded in 1961, the aim of IFATCA is to coordinate the activities of members and ensure seamlessness and uniformity in operations globally.