Nigeria has completed a pilot test of new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) as part of a programme to migrate its air navigation from terrestrial to satellite-based air navigation.
According to Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA), the new system, known as Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), will allow air traffic control on satellite-based navigation instead of ground-based radars offering savings on fuel costs and aircraft emissions.
To operate on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) aircraft are to be equipped with necessary equipments, which will easily link to satellites for continuous navigation and communication to airports.
During the testing of new satellite based navigation system, the pilots of Emirates Airlines and KLM had some or no contact with the air traffic controllers (ATC) while approaching the Lagos and Kano airports respectively.
NAMA managing director, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, said that the development is part of current drive of transforming the nation’s aviation industry by the federal government.
"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 ICAO endorsed air navigation programme," Udoh said.
The deployment of PBN will provide cost savings for the airlines as it will consume less fuel during take-off and landing, which will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, and further will reduce the work load of ATC.
The authority has started the transformation following the completion of the N360m World Geodetic Survey (WGS-84) of the country’s 22 airports and the technical design of its four major airports in 2010.
In Nigeria, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Port Harcourt International Airport were among the four airports listed for the testing the new technology.
About 60 aviation industry stake holders were undergoing training on the satellite-based air navigation system, which includes ATCs, pilots, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology and the Presidential fleet.
Image: Emirates Airlines carried out the approach test on the GNSS at Lagos airport. Photo: Aadebayo