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NAMA to engage additional 100 air traffic officers

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is to engage additional 100 Air Traffic Controller Officers (ATCOs) to address the acute shortage of air controllers in the country.

The Acting Managing Director, NAMA, Lawrence Pwajok, who disclosed this at the just-concluded 51st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) in Ibadan, Oyo State, said no fewer than 40 ATCO cadets were undergoing training at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

“Management is also aware of the pressure that shortage has been exerting and may further exert on your members,” Mr Pwajok said.

“Let me assure you that we are already working to ensure that the situation does not become an emergency.”

He explained that presently, a Basic ATC Course was now running in NCAT Zaria for 40 Cadets, and assured his audience that “very soon, another set will resume as soon as Zaria has space.”

“This,” he continued, “is besides efforts at obtaining approval to recruit additional 100 Air Traffic Controllers for strategic replacement of ATCOS that will retire from service up to 2028.”

According to Mr Pwajok, the management already envisaged a gap in the number of ATCOs and has put in place a plan to recruit at least 100 personnel between 2022 and 2028.

He also said the ongoing training of 40 cadets was different from the 100 personnel planned for the agency by 2028 as many of the current controllers would retire from the system that same year.

In addition, the NAMA boss said, the agency has absorbed six ATCOS trained by the Niger-Delta Development Commission to address the expected shortage.

He listed other trainings done to include,  the Phase Two of the Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) in Paris, France, of 16 ATCOs, with an additional 20 slated for training in Cairo, Egypt, in the next two months.

Similarly, 12 ATCOS have been scheduled to undergo Search and Rescue Mission Coordinators’ Training course in Nairobi, Kenya, before the end of the year.

Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Fany Olumoye and Tony Okerafor