- To be ranked amongst four best aerodrome in Nigeria
By the time the Enugu airport total rehabilitation is completed, the airport could rank amongst the best four aerodromes in the country as the Federal Government through the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has begun the installation of over $1 million (N362 million) Category two Instrument Landing System (ILS).
The airport is undergoing some of the best renovations ever done in any airport in Nigeria in recent time. The facility is also getting some of the best navigational equipment that would make flights to operate in and out of the airport or otherwise what is described as 24 hour airport.
The cost is not exact because the cost of installation, training and other accessories could shoot the cost by another N200 million according to a source familiar with the highly accurate radio signal navigation aid consisting of two antennas which transmit signals to receivers in the aircraft cockpit—a glide path tower located next to the runway at the northern end and a localiser antenna at the southern end.
To this end, (NAMA has successfully installed a brand-new CAT 2 Instrument Landing System / Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME) to replace the old system which was installed since 2003.
A successful site acceptance test on the equipment has also been conducted by NAMA engineers in Enugu in preparation for its calibration in the coming days.
Meanwhile, in a bid to address communication blind spots in the Lagos South East corridor, the agency has installed a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) for satellite communication at the airport.
This SATCOM (Satellite Communication) node has further been integrated into the national satellite communication network which is linked to the AFISNET (African Indian Ocean SATCOM Network).
Also linked to the VSAT is the newly installed Remote Control Air-Ground (RCAG) Very High Frequency (VHF) radio communication system, ensuring that Enugu now has an extended VHF coverage on 127.3MHz frequency for Lagos South East sector.
Speaking on the gains of this latest installation, Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu who noted that radio communication along the Lagos South East sector has “improved tremendously,” said the installation of the VHF radio in Enugu is “particularly significant as the city is strategically located to accommodate over six routes, both local and international.”
“Enugu being on higher latitude can cover for Manfe entry/exit reporting point in Cameroun for international flights like Ethiopian, Rwanda Airlines, Kenya Airways, South Africa Airways and the like,”Akinkuotu said.
The NAMA boss revealed that the new installation has provided AFTN (Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network) link that would enhance effective data communication for transmission of flight plans, NOTAMs and Aeronautical Communication messages, just as it has provided effective coordination between Enugu tower and Lagos Area Control Centre through the ATS/DS (Air Traffic Services/ Direct Speech) for departing and arriving traffic ahead of time.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria had announced the closure of the airport, which is the only international airport in the South-east region, in order to reconstruct its runway.
December 2019 was earlier set as deadline for the completion of the repairs.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved N10 billion special intervention fund about eight weeks after the airport was closed.
“I am very satisfied with the level of work done. According to the programme of work approved and established by us, we are beating the deadline. We will deliver the runway before Easter,” he reportedly said.