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Tue, Aug 29, 2023 7:50 AM

NAMA Introduces Free Route Airspace Concept, Signs Agreement with ASECNA

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NAMA Introduces Free Route Airspace Concept, Signs Agreement with ASECNA
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has introduced the concept of Free Route Airspace (FRA) within the Kano Flight Information Region. The FRA concept allows users to plan their route freely between entry and exit points, providing benefits such as increased air traffic capacity and reduced operational costs. Additionally, NAMA has signed agreements with ASECNA to enhance air traffic coordination and develop new routes between ACCs.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has presented to the Agency for Aerial Navigation and Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) the concept of Free Route Airspace (FRA) already in operation within the Kano Flight Information Region.

Free Route Airspace (FRA) is a specified airspace that allows users to freely plan their route between defined entry and exit points. It eliminates the need to follow standard airways and instead allows operators to choose their route, subject to certain limitations like fixed entry and exit points and avoiding dangerous areas.

The introduction of FRA within the Kano Flight Information Region brings numerous benefits for air traffic control, operators, and pilots. The first derivative is increased airspace capacity, which allows for more flights to operate within the region. This, in turn, leads to shorter travel times for aircraft and reduced carbon emissions.

Furthermore, operators can expect reduced operational costs by being able to plan more efficient routes, optimizing fuel consumption and flight time. The FRA concept also reduces the workload for controllers and pilots, as they have more flexibility in choosing the most suitable and direct routes.

The implementation of FRA is not limited to Nigeria alone. In Europe, the process has been carried out in a step-by-step manner, with most countries implementing FRA at least partially by the end of 2022. The gradual expansion of FRA has proven successful, with many states starting with limited implementations before adopting it on a full-time basis.

To address the challenges arising from the flow of air traffic between Flight Information Regions (FIRs), NAMA has recently signed Letters of Agreement with ASECNA. These agreements aim to enhance air traffic coordination between the Lagos Area Control Centre (ACC), the Lome Area Control Centre, and the Cotonou Approach Unit.

The signed agreements establish procedures for the separation of aircraft between the ACCs, including the use of specific radio frequencies, transfer points for aircraft, and altitudes during transfers across the common boundaries. Modalities for the coordination of air traffic along newly created routes within Lome airspace terminating at POLTO were also outlined in the agreement.

NAMA assured ASECNA that challenges related to coordination and data interchange equipment like Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) and Air Traffic Services Message Handling Services (AMHS) would be addressed with the deployment of the new VISAT 10.02 network.

The introduction of Free Route Airspace and the agreements with ASECNA mark significant progress in advancing air traffic management and coordination in the region. By embracing the FRA concept, Nigeria aims to optimize airspace usage, improve efficiency, and contribute to a safer and more sustainable aviation industry.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-29 News

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