The vice president of Thales in charge of Civil Radars Segment, Lionel DE Castellane, over the weekend, disclosed that, the phase 1 of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigerian airports (TRACON), is set for completion by May 2024.
Speaking when the minister of Aviation and Aerospace, Development, Festus Keyamo, visited France-based global air surveillance radar provider, Thales for partnership, Castellane, said the project, initially signed with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in 2022, is 80% completed.
It would be recalled that Thales has played a pivotal role in radar system installations globally, integrating its services into France in the early 50s and in Germany in 1963.
The firm has also been instrumental in radar installations for major international airports such as the London Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle in France, among others.
He, however, disclosed that discussions were ongoing for financing of the second and third phases.
Castellane highlighted the urgent need for the upgrade of Total Radar Coverage of Nigerian airport facilities, especially at major airports such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu, and Port-Harcourt.
He drew attention to the ongoing Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project, initiated 18 years ago, emphasising the need for urgent modernisation.
Recognising the financial magnitude of the project, Thales has secured a loan facility of €30.6 million from Commerzbank Group, a German financial institution, with the French Guarantee Agency providing backup support.
“We’re only waiting for the Nigerian government to give us the nod to formalize 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,” Costallane said.
Speaking earlier, the minister, according to the press statement made available by his media aide, Tunde Moshood, said the ministerial delegation traveled to Rouen-Ymare, Thales’ headquarters, to inspect and understand the functionality of the latest radar equipment.
“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 favorably 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,” Keyamo stated.