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Safer Skies- 24 Hour Radar Coverage - Travel - Nairaland

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Safer Skies- 24 Hour Radar Coverage by LoverBwoy(m): 3:22pm On Feb 01, 2007
EFFORTS to make the nation's airspace safer have intensified as indications emerged that the 24-hour radar service now enjoyed at the Lagos and Abuja airports would soon be extended to two other international airports - Kano and Port Harcourt.

The hint was dropped by the Minister of State for Air Transportation, Femi Fani-Kayode, through his Special Assistant, Bayo Oladeji.

The project in both airports, he added, would begin between March and April this year.

The move is coming barely a week after the Lagos and Abuja airport radars were completed to provide 24-hour air coverage.

Funds, he explained, were being sourced for the project, which he said was enormous.

The Port-Harcourt and Kano International airports lack functional radar and are regarded as airports with huge traffic outside the ones in Lagos and Abuja.

Radars at airports across the country have been described as obsolete, often giving inaccurate readings, thus necessitating the call for the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON).

TRACON is to provide main surveillance radar coverage to Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Kano and five remote sites at Obubra, Maiduguri , Sokoto, Ilorin and Bebi.

The project was conceived 10 years ago by the Federal Government to make the country's airspace safer for civil aviation traffic, while the primary radar assists the Nigerian Air Force with its surveillance of the country's skies.

TRACON, as proposed for Nigeria, is a turnkey project with integrated long range communications system and aeronautical information service and facilities. But the project has suffered several delays related to administration and finance.

Thrice, the contract had been amended with the cost, including the schedule of payment, renegotiated by the various chief executives of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). The immediate past chief executive also reviewed the project on assumption of office. All the amendments were reportedly done without recourse to due process.

The TRACON project was suspended after the government had already paid over N4 billion to Thales, a French firm for the over 70 million euro project.

Only recently, an interim report of a committee set up by the Minister of Air Transportation queried the inflation of the project to N1.6 billion, and faulted the process of the contract's award as well as the propriety of equipment being sought.

http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article06/010207 slowly but surely we shall get there wink

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