COMESA Secretary-General, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya has said that the civil aviation industry in the region needs a lot of capacity building programmes because it is based on advanced science and technology, which operates within the frontiers of global knowledge.
While officially opening the Third Meeting of Directors of Civil Aviation from the region on 27 August 2012, Mr Ngwenya said for purposes of maintaining the safety of navigation, the East and Southern African (ESA) region has adopted a project prescribed by the International Aviation Authority in order to provide capacity to undertake technical oversight first with respect to flight operations and the internationally recognised air traffic and airports management.
The Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness (COSCAP) Programme assists the aviation industry by providing special skills, advanced technology in both mobile equipment, ground based navigation, communication and management systems.
“The programmes in air transport aim at advancing our technical capacities to enhance the efficiency and safety of civil aviation on one hand and also provide for a liberalized regime in the provision of the transport services in the region on the other,” Mr Ngwenya said.
He said that on the technical side, through the implementation of integrated Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) systems, COMESA provides modern air traffic management.
“In this endeavor, projects on the CNS/ATM systems have been undertaken since the late 1990’s within COMESA, EAC and SADC who have also been working on the establishment of integrated air space regimes among the Member States,” Mr Ngwenya said.
Mr Ngwenya however pointed out that although significant progress has been made in the implementation of the COSCAP in some of the clusters in the ESA region, funding remains a challenge for others and hence resources need to be mobilized to ensure that all Member States are up to date in the area of aviation.
He said that COMESA has been working closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in trying to reduce the gaps that obtain in some clusters and have resulted in delays in the operationalization of international standards in civil aviation.
The Third Meeting of Directors of Civil Aviation from the region drew participants from all COMESA Member States. Also discussed was the roadmap for the Tripartite Integrated Airspace Project and the liberalisaiton of air transport in the region.