Flight time and safety across Nigeria’s airspace on Tuesday was further enhanced with the successful test run of the Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) via a demonstration flight to improve the accuracy, integrity, and availability of the signal through augmentation of the agency’s satellite systems.
NAMA deployed its $8.5 million Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft for the exercise that will enable airlines to save costs through fuel burns as the system has the capability of reducing flight time on some routes within Nigeria by up to 5-7 minutes.
Managing Director of NAMA, Mr. Mathew Pwajok explained that “When an airline tells you their fuel consumption, you will understand and if you multiply that by five minutes you will know how much it is. We also have the calculation which we can make available to you for different airline categories in fuel savings, time savings, and CO2 emission savings which is very critical, environmental sustainability is key in this satellite navigation.
“That is one of the driving forces when it reduces flight time, fuel consumption, and CO2 emission. We have the calculation of the CO2 emissions and when I calculated the number of flights that fly that route and the number of reductions in flight time and fuel consumption, they act to give a quantum per annum on the savings for that implementation. Multiple over the years, maybe 300 flights through that route, you can actually see an amazing reduction for an airline.”
Pwajok added that Nigeria implemented the Performance Based Navigation (PBN), a satellite system for navigation that allows aircraft to use satellites and aircraft equipped with a global performance system to navigate or fly.
“What we have implemented at the moment that we have done in 32 airports including military airports and private and state government and federal airports is what we call performance-based navigation. It provides you with large guidance. For you to improve on the accuracy, integrity, and availability of the signal, we will now go into what we call an augmentation system. That is to augment what the satellite does”, he stated.
“For a satellite to have precision, you need an augmentation that can give improved accuracy, the integrity of the signal, availability, and continuity of the signal to collect information from several signals rather than an aircraft using just one signal from a GPS to fly.”
“It improves on the accuracy and that improves safety and that also reduces what we call control flight into terrain, rather than going left or right, it puts you more precise on the approach for landing. It enhances safety, efficiency, and capacity; reduces the workload for the pilot and the air traffic controller and then of course efficiency for the airlines. It reduces flight time, reduces fuel consumption, holding time, and turn-around time. In the long run, it improves affordability for the airline”.