Keyamo seeks partnership with French firm on infrastructure

Keyamo seeks partnership with French firm on infrastructure

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has engaged a French company, Thales, to upgrade the radar systems within Nigeria’s aviation sector.

This initiative was disclosed in a statement on Saturday by the minister’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Tunde Moshood.

Thales, a global air surveillance radar provider, has been providing Festus Keyamo radar installations for major international airports such as London Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle among others.

A radar system refers to a technology that uses radio waves to detect and determine the location, altitude, speed, and direction of aircraft and other objects in the airspace.

During the visit to Thales’ headquarters in Rouen-Ymare, France, accompanied by his team, the minister expressed his commitment to acquiring cutting-edge radar technology.

Keyamo said, “I have taken my time to come all the way because I want the best equipment for my country. I want the Nigerian aviation sector to compete favourably in terms of the installation of the latest equipment. That’s why I am here to take a tour and see the latest radar equipment in town.”

The Vice President of Thales in charge of the Civil Radars Segment, Lionel DE Castellane, emphasised the urgent need for the radar system upgrade, particularly at major Nigerian airports, including Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu, and Port-Harcourt.

He underscored the ongoing Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria project, highlighting the necessity for modernisation and enhancements in radar technology.

Notable progress was reported on the TRACON project, with phase 1, initially signed with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency in 2022, being 80 per cent complete and set for full completion by May 2024.

He also said that discussions on financing arrangements for the second and third phases are underway with Thales securing a substantial loan facility of €30.6m from the Commerzbank Group, a German financial institution, and support from the French Guarantee Agency.

In response to the pressing need for modernisation, support has been extended to the Nigerian government by Thales. Castellane assured.

“We’re only waiting for the Nigerian government to give us the nod to formalise the financing arrangements, even as we speak, the Commerzbank director here in France is a call away anytime, she’s ready to travel to Nigeria for the formalities”, he said.

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