THE UTILIZATION OF FLIGHT PLAN IN PROMOTING AIR TRANSPORTATION SAFETY IN NIGERIA (PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS)
The basic purpose of Flight Planning System is to ensure that aeroplanes take any necessary precautions and adequately equipped both with fuel and enroute information before commencing on any flight or journey. Aeroplanes must also carry some research fuel to allow for unforeseen circumstances, such as inaccurate weather forecasts, or Air traffic control requiring an aircraft to fly at a lower height than optimum due to congestion or some last –minute passengers whose weight was not allowed for when the flight plan was prepared. In view of this, the study attempts to examine the necessary precautions and information that must be available to pilots for safety purpose any flight. The effect of these information and lack of them on safety of flight was critically examined. The details content of flight plan and their usefulness were discussed. Furthermore, the study revealed that without the flight plan, the safety or air craft in the sky cannot be guaranteed. The congestion in the air with an average growth rate of 4.5% shows that flight plan will continue to play prominent roles in aviation industry in general. The use of computer generated information to develop and disseminate flight plan will enhance safety and be a necessary safety requirement in the next decade. Thus, the prospects of flight plan in Nigeria aviation development cannot not be overemphasized.
Background of the study
Flight planning is the process of producing a flight plan that will ensure that aircraft can safely reach the destination; and comply with air traffic control requirements, to minimize the risk of mid-air collision. Safety regulations require aircraft to carry fuel beyond the minimum needed to fly from origin to destination, allowing for unforeseen circumstances or for diversion to another airport if the planned destination becomes unavailable. Furthermore, under the supervision of air traffic control, aircraft flying in controlled airspace must follow predetermined routes known as airways, even if such route are not as economical as more direct flight. All the above requirements are necessary to ensure safety of flights in our airspace. The fact that air transport generally carries influential and important people across the world makes it mandatory to take all necessary measures that will ensure security and safety of lives and properties. In developing countries such as Nigeria, it is only the rich and high class people that can afford the cost of air transport, and as such any air disaster will attract more attention and calls for higher safety standards. Traditionally, air traffic services across the globe have been provided by governments, on a national and sovereign basis so as to oversee and continuously monitor the development Some air navigations services can trace their, origins back to the earliest days of civil flying; others have evolved from strictly military roots. However, due to increasing demand for funding, air navigation service providers are
increasing being asked to adopt business practices as means of funding crucial investment in aviation infrastructure, since they are being assigned to authorities with administrative and often with administrative and often with financial autonomy .
Such is the change that air traffic service providers now even have an official body representing their interests at international forums, where for many years they have simply being considered as part of the government process and represented by their individual government, if at all.
Several factors have stimulated the swing to commercialization. For example, as the population of economically mature states ages, government finances are becoming increasingly stretched. Growing demands on treasury resources to finance service and program for which states have traditionally been responsible –such as health.
Welfare and social security –mean that services such as air traffic control, find themselves in an unequal competition for scarce public funds.
But if sole responsibility for funding air navigation systems rests in the hands of national governments, political expediency or public sector borrowing limits can affect the funding available to the creation of a safe, efficiency and evolving infrastructure. In essence, the provision of flight plan for navigation safety must continue to be done without limitation for reliability and efficiency either by the government or private agency.
Statement of the Problem
The air transport industry has growth enormouslyhigh recent decades and is projected to continue growing strongly into the next century, particularly internationally. Over the past thirty years, the number of passengers worldwide grew from 117 million in 1965 to an estimated 1.26 billion in 1995. United State airline passengersfor the same period grew from 103 million in 1965 to an estimated 548 million in 1995. Also common carrier offer scheduled and charter flight to international, regional and local destinations. Depending on the length of the trip and the amount of cargo ornumber of people to be carried, the airplane with varying sizes would be engaged. In addition, general aviation has become part of the air transport industry in the mid 1920‟s. This includes all flying in corporate-owned or leased aircraft and in air taxis, which provide on-demand services from fixed locations. While much of general aviation is commercial, the companies that offer these services are not legally defines as common carriers. Their services are provided to select clients at negotiated rates rather than to the public at large, and they do not have the same carrier certification requirements as the airlines. However, with the availability of common carriers and general aviation everywhere in the world, it is pertinentto state that many people especially in the developing countries do not have access to aviation services. The locational effect of the airports negatively.
Though airline prices have declines, when adjusted for inflation globally, and the new competitive climatehas fastened numerous innovations of benefit to travelers/including frequent-flyer program, many people could not still afford it in developing countries such as Nigeria. It is in an attempt to examine this phenomenon and offer possible explanations that this important topic on utilization of flight plans in air transport was chosen.
Aim and Objectives
The study aims at examining the utilization of flight plan in promoting air safety in Nigeria. The aim will be accomplished through the following objectives:
i.To examine the need and purpose of flight planning in Nigeria. ii.To evaluate the importance of flight plan to air navigation safety. iii.To identify the key requirements for efficient and reliable flight plan in Nigeria aviation industry.
iv.To examine the effect of changing technology on the preparation and utilization of flight plan.
to be TestedThat accurate and reliable flight plan determines the transportation safety in Nigeria.
Justification of the Study
The problems of Nigeria aviation industry are many and varied. These problems have given rise to the emergence of air crashes that will witness today. The situation has also exposed the air transport industry to stagnation and underdevelopment. Furthermore, the socio-political situation in the country which makes the Nigeria aviation to be under the control of Federal Government, with exception of airline, does not help matter.
The appointments at the top management level are made by the government. These appointments/positions are seeing by many as national cake and means of getting one‟s share.
Invariably, no matter the allocation of fund to this sector by the government, the impact will not be felt.
However, the provision of reliable air navigation services, such as the preparation of flight plan, requires adequate funding, trained personnel, among others. Flight panning requires accurate weather forecasts so that fuel consumption calculation can account for the final consumption effect of head or tail wind and air temperature. Thus, there is need to have accurate and up to date weather information and other enroute facilities to prepare reliable and effective flight plan. Producing an accurate optimized flight plan, requires a large number of calculations and precautions, so commercial flight planning systems make extensive use of computers. These computers must be available to the concerned personnel to enhance their operations. This is because any short-coming in its preparation will jeopardize safety.
The airspace has continued to be congested with several thousands of aero planes flying and the information must be made available to them to prevent air collision and other form of accidents and incidents. The study will critically examined the effect of flight plan or air safety and the need for provision of modern facilities at Nigeria airport to enhance this operation.
Scope of the Study
The aviation industry comprises three independent entities, which include the aircraft manufactures, the airline operators; and the airport authority/management performing various different function. An arm of the last, which is now an in independent agency, is responsible for the provision of air navigation services, such as air traffic control and fight planning.This project will focus on the activities and operations of flight planning unit and the effect of their operations on safety of flights in Nigeria.
Given that there is no parking space in the air, adequate precautions must be taken on ground before taking up; as it is usually said, safety in the air starts from the ground. The need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of flight planning system will be critically considered. The factors affecting its utilization will also be examined.
Limitation of Study
This project work as any other faced with some limitations which include; limited access to airlines while gatheringinformation, inadequate return of questionnaire, limited funds and inadequate times.
Definition of Terms
Flight: This is a journey made by air especially in an air craft or plane. Planning: Thisis a make detailed arrangements for something you want do e.g. travelling in the future.
Air craft:This can be refer to as any machine that can drive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air against the earth‟s surface. Routes: It is way for travelling from one place to another.
Transport: This is the movement of passengers and goods from one location to another.
Boarding:The actof passenger and crew entering in air craft. Air space:It is the area located above ground level, which in air craft traveled through. Airport: An airfield with control tower and hanger as well as accommodation for passenger and cargo..