The Director General of the Civil Air Navigation Service Organisation (CANSO), Mr. Jeff Poole, has said improved navigation and seamless airspace would boost the aviation industry in Africa.
Poole who spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at the CANSO African conference, outlined steps needed to transform air traffic management performance in Africa and called on the states and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to firmly take up their roles to improve the region’s airspace.
The CANSO Director General said, “Aviation is vital to African development, and air traffic management (ATM) is critical to the safety, growth and development of aviation across the continent. The ATM industry has made good progress but there is still a long way to go. Both the industry and states can take important measures to further improve safety and transform ATM performance in Africa.”
He outlined two broad areas of focus for the Africa region, which include improving aviation safety and taking steps towards the realisation of seamless airspace.
Poole said safety is the industry’s number one priority and “we are particularly focused on improving safety in Africa. CANSO plays an important role in improving runway safety through its programme to educate airport managers, ANSPs, pilots and air traffic controllers on the causes of, and risks concerning unstable approaches.”
He observed that runway safety maturity checklist provides a vital benchmark for airlines, airports and ANSPs.
“In addition, CANSO has developed the Standard of Excellence in Safety Management Systems which provides a framework for continually improving the management and oversight of safety within ANSPs. CANSO urges all ANSPs in Africa to take full advantage of these initiatives to improve safety standards across the continent.”
He explained that CANSO’s objective in seamless and harmonised airspace was to transform global ATM performance, to enable airlines fly in seamless airspace globally across ‘invisible’ borders.
“CANSO’s vision is of a globally harmonised and interoperable air navigation system capable of delivering a safe, efficient and seamless service. In Africa, there are a number of challenges we need to overcome to achieve this.”
Poole said African states need to address the lack of infrastructure and air navigation services (ANS) in remote areas, noting that CANSO’s Vision 2020 and its associated work plan include the implementation of ICAO’s Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) to define a minimum path of acceptable ANS transformation.
“We have identified certain priority areas in Africa including: improving en route safety and efficiency through improved appropriate surveillance and communication infrastructure; optimising approach procedures through PBN (Performance Based Navigation) implementation; reducing delays and improving runway traffic flow and sequencing through Airport-CDM and arrival and departure manager (AMAN/DMAN); improving air traffic flow performance through Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM), and Collaborative Decision Making (CDM); and others.
“We also need to review how airspace is best managed in Africa. Airspace needs to be organised, and air navigation services need to be delivered in line with the operational requirement of airspace users rather than according to national borders. States should consider delegating service provision to achieve larger airspace ‘blocks’ to ensure more effective service provision. ASECNA (airspace managers in French speaking African nations) is a good example in Africa, covering 17 States”, he added.
He stressed that funding is a challenge to realising the set goals, adding that many ANSPs have difficulty in adequately funding the modernisation and expansion of infrastructure.
“CANSO believes that revenues generated by the civil aviation sector should be re-invested in the sector. And regional cooperation and integration should be explored as the best way to secure cost-effective investments and achieve better returns,” Poole also said.