By Gabriel Agbeja
The Federal Government says it is ready to install Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ISL) at the Malam Aminu Kanu International Airport, Kano, Port Harcourt International Airport and the Katsina Airport.
Mr Mathew Pwajok, the Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), made the announcement on Sunday in Abuja, when he featured at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum.
Pwajok said the move would increase the number of airports that had Category 3 ISL in the country to five.
According to him, instrument landing system is a navigational equipment that provides lateral guidance for an aircraft, sky guidance for the aircraft and the longitudinal guidance for the aircraft when coming in to land.
“Navigational facility is one of the very critical requirements for access into an airport safely, efficiently and economically. We place very high premium on the procurement and installation of navigational equipment.
“Over the past five years, we have deployed significantly a large number of navigational equipment. I can go through some of them by justifying my statement.
“ Currently, we have installed what we call Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Lagos and Abuja Airports.
“We are also planning to install addition ones in Kano, Port Harcourt and Katsina.”
The NAMA chief, who explained that Category 3 landing system was the highest category for landing anywhere in the world, said that government was set to invest heavily to ensure that all the nation’s international airports had the facility.
Pwajok said that lighting system would complement Category 3.
He said that Category 3 approach system was also required to guide pilots, using the instrument landing system.
“ Currently, we have installed instrument landing system of Category 2 that requires what we call low visibility operations.
“In operations, where the visibility is below 800 metres and not lower than 300 metres, we use what we call a Category 2 instrument landing system.
“For a Category 1 instrument landing system, which are few, you need 800 metres visibility or more.
“That is to say, visibility must be about 1km (1000m) for you to be able to do a Catigory1 landing system, the lowest of the three categories.
“For Category 3, when the aircraft and the flight crew are adequately certified for it, with the visual lighting system available, you can basically land in zero visibility, “ he said.
Pwajok said that Category 2 ILS was installed in Sokoto, Kano, Minna, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Yola, Jos, Enugu and Benin airports.
He said that Category 2 ILS was currently being installed in Ilorin, Ibadan and Akure Airports, noting that some state airports such as Gombe, Kebbi, Bayelsa and Anambra had already installed Category 2 ILS facilities.
The NAMA boss explained that the airport at Lafia in Nasarawa State, which also had Category 2 ILS had not been opened to services because it had not yet been commissioned.
Pwajok said that Categroy1 facilities were still being used in few airports, pointing out that government had planned to replace them with Category 2 ILS.
“We have other equipment that can guide airplanes to airports and we call them Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range (VOR), a ground-based electronic system that provides information for high and low altitude routes and airport approaches.
“The VOR is like a broadcast station. It transmits information. Unlike radio station where you tune and hear music. For this navigational facility, when you tune, it gives you directional guidance.
“ It directs you for example, if you are going to Lagos, it shows you where the direction to Lagos is. So you fly on that flight path.
“It will also give you the distance to where you are going as well as distance from where you are coming from,” said Pwajok. (NAN)