NAMA seeks ICAO licensing of air traffic personnel

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has charged the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to consider as a matter of urgency the inclusion of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP) licensing in its Annex1 to the Chicago Convention.

NAMA said this would place the responsibility to ensure safety on the holder because a license was the confirmation of competence in a specific safety related area.

The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, stated this at the just concluded 9th International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations (IFATSEA) hosted by the National Association of Air Traffic Engineers (NAAE) in Abuja, according to the NAMA weekly bulletin made available to our correspondent.

The conference with the theme: “Aviation Safety and Licensing of ATSEP”, was attended by 131 participants drawn from nine countries: Burkina Faso, Gambia, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Germany and Nigeria, as well as representatives from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and  the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA).

Capt. Akinkuotu said although the demand for the licensing of ATSEPs had been a recurring issue at ICAO’s General Assembly annually due to effort of IFATSEA to give it a “loud voice”, stakeholders in the industry had the onerous duty to actualise this given the safety-critical role ATSEPs played in the aviation sector.

Akinkuotu further said as an agency with the largest concentration of ATSEPs in Nigeria, NAMA would continue to support the advocacy for the inclusion of ATSEP licensing in ICAO Annex1 as this would give them a sense of accountability and commitment to duty.

He said, “Licensing of critical personnel in the aviation industry is fundamental to safety. We are demanding for license so that we can hold people responsible for their actions. The fact that a license; unlike a university degree, can be withdrawn, makes the holder extremely responsible and careful in taking safety-critical decisions.”

The NAMA boss said in recognition of the immense contribution of ATSEPs to safety in the nation’s aviation sector, Nigeria had an operating ATSEP licensing and rating programme included in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR) which NAMA was vigorously implementing as required, stressing that the programme had gone a long way in increasing the competency of ATSEPS in the country.

Akinkuotu who was full of gratitude to the ATSEPs, said, “NAMA engineers have proven that they can stand their own in every situation and they have continued to ensure that our navigational equipment propagate accurate and reliable signals  thereby ensuring safety of air travel in the country.”

The President of the National Association of Air Traffic Engineers (NAAE), Engr. Ishaya Dung, called on stakeholders to back the association in its plan to represent the “safety case” in the forthcoming ICAO General Assembly in September, 2019.

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