The federal government has re-opened the Maiduguri International Airport in Borno State for civil, scheduled and unscheduled flight services after it was closed following Boko Haram attack on December 2, 2013.
Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nnamdi Udoh, disclosed this, adding that some of the agency’s equipment, including components of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), power generating sets and instrument landing system (ILS) destroyed by the attack had been restored by NAMA.
Although commercial flight services has not started in the airport, Udoh said airlines could now resume flight operations as the damaged navigation equipment at the airport has been fixed.
Udoh also said that the federal government had installed some sophisticated air navigation equipment at the airport to boost surveillance around the country’s borders with Cameroon where he noted increased infiltration of suspected terrorists have been recorded.
“We initially had some communication problem in the airspace around Maiduguri due to the attack on TRACON by the Boko Haram sect, but that’s history now, because the TRACON has been fixed.
“The Maiduguri airport has now been re-opened. The governor of the state has donated a power generating set to facilitate the re-opening of the airport, and now, the TRACON is fully operational,” Udoh said.
A new air navigation technology called wide area augmentation and automatic data surveillance broadcast, according to him, has been installed around the airport to boost security.
The NAMA Managing Director said the same technology was being deployed in the Niger Delta area, for helicopters involved in oil and gas operations.
“We have finished the survey for the Niger Delta area for this year, and we have gotten the report so we want to deploy ADSB and multi-alteration which come under wide area of augmentation system.
“Now we are going to need this around Maiduguri and Yola airports because of the security issue. We are collaborating with the military on how to see this through,” Udoh said.
While speaking on communication in the airspace, Udoh said the VHF radio coverage of Nigeria had effectively covered the whole airspace.
“VHF radio is available; of course if there is a power failure, someone will fix it, if there is frequency deficiency, someone is there to fix it.
“For instance, how would anybody expect that a new airplane that belongs to Airbus crashed on its first flight? Technology is not perfect but whenever problem arises we fix it,” he said.