Safety and reliability of aircrafts at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe is expected to improve, following the installation of a modern aircraft controlling system called Radar Air Navigation System.
The system has been provided through a $36 million (about K26 billion) project implemented by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) through the School of Aviation at KIA.
Briefing the media in Lilongwe on Friday, Jica resident representative Kito Koichi said the system will ensure efficiency and reliability of the aviation sector in the country.
To ensure sustainability of the facility, he said Jica sent 12 Malawian air traffic control officers and four engineers from Malawi to East African School of Aviation in Nairobi, Kenya for a five-month training.
“From late June, the air traffic control officers started radar operation simulator training for the Malawi air space at the School of Aviation. Engineers’ radar maintenance training started on July 2,” he said.
Koichi said the objective of the training was to to enhance the capacity of air traffic control officers, communication navigation and surveillance engineers and training instructors to operate and maintain the new aircraft controlling system.
KIA commandant Donnie Chimtengo said the system will help in controlling aircrafts with visual aids unlike in the past when aircraft controllers used a system called procedural which required aircraft controllers to use their own imagination when controlling aircrafts.
He said the system is the most modern and efficient way of aircraft control around the world because it controls multiple aircrafts at once compared to the old procedural way which only controls one aircraft at a time.
Chimtengo said the radar will help in locating planes in the airspace without necessarily waiting for the pilot’s feedback.
He said without the radar, there is limited coverage of traffic in the airspace.
“This new system will help us in attracting foreign investors so that they can operate their planes here as they are assured of safety and reliability,” he said.
The Radar Air Navigation System is used in air traffic control to enhance surveillance, radar monitoring and separation of air traffic.
It consists of a rotating ground antenna and transponders in aircraft, according to officials at KIA.