Two foreign airlines at the weekend successfully participated in Nigeria’s test-run of a new approach, in its attempt to migrate from terrestrial air navigation to a satellite-based navigation system, known as Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), the local media reported Tuesday.
Emirates Airlines carried out the test at the main gateway Murtala Mohammed International Airport in the commercial capital city of Lagos while KLM did so at the Aminu Kano International Airport in the northern city of Kano.
Experts said Nigeria’s Next Generation (NextGen) Air Transportation System, which seeks to base air traffic control on satellite-based navigation rather than ground-based radars, has the potential for substantial savings on fuel costs and aircraft emissions.
“With the success recorded in our quest of moving from terrestrial to a satellite-based air navigation system, Nigeria has joined the league of big countries that are already operating the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)-endorsed air navigation programme,” the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Director-General, Mr. Nnamdi Udoh, was quoted as saying.
He also said the operation of the Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) would save cost for the airlines as they would burn less fuel during take-off and landing, lead to reduction in carbon-dioxide emission and lighten the work load of air traffic controllers.
Sixty industry stakeholders are currently undergoing training on the satellite-based air navigation system, with participants drawn from the ranks of air traffic controllers, pilots, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and the Presidential fleet.
NAMA is also billed to train about 250 air traffic controllers on the PBN system.