A national capacity building workshop to support implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) and Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region was conducted in the D R Congo, 15 – 17 December 2022.
Its objective was to develop capacity in the implementation of Performance Based Navigation (PBN). This is expected to facilitate execution of various global and regional air navigation plans geared towards realization of the Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU) initiatives. The workshop was organized by the programme on Support to the Air Transport Sector Development (SATSD) which is funded by the European Union under the European Development Fund 11.
The SATSD programme is intended to contribute to the development of air transport sector in the EA-SA-IO through operationalization of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
DR Congo is one of the 35 countries in Africa that have signed the solemn commitment joining SAATM which constitutes 64% of the total membership of the African Union. The training shall also ensure safety and efficiency of flights and increasing airspace capacity, and ultimately improving on operational costs.
The Minister of Transport, Communication and Development in DR Congo, Hon Cherubin Okende Senga opened the workshop. In his statement, the Minister observed that a mature air transport sector provides the much needed efficient and effective means of connectivity for the people within and beyond the borders of the country which will increase trade, tourism and other social economic activities.
“At the continental and regional level, the sector will create an enabling environment for the realization of the free movement of persons and goods in line with the African Union Agenda 2063 Flagship Project,” he noted. “I therefore welcome recommendations that will emanate from this workshop going forward in improving air navigation safety and efficiency through enhanced implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices and Procedures for Air Navigation for the benefit of the national, regional and continental air transport industry.”
To operationalize the Single African Air Transport Market, there is need to establish an enabling infrastructure that will ensure safe, effective and efficient flow of traffic in line with the global air navigation plan which is embraced by all States worldwide and is enshrined in the African and Indian Ocean Plan for the region. This entails having appropriate infrastructure and procedures in place to support the expected surge in air traffic growth.
Senior Transport Economist at the COMESA Secretariat Mr Bernard Dzawanda, stated that the despite the numerous challenges relating to the liberalization of the sector leading to high air transport costs and inconvenience to passengers the importance of the aviation sector is paramount. Hence, such workshops will assist Member States to realize the envisaged benefits and minimize the need to develop and maintain sector-specific routes and procedures, and their associated costs.
“Member States will also allow more efficient use of airspace thus reducing environmental impact and facilitating global operational approval process for operators by providing a limited set of navigation specifications intended for global use,” he noted.
Participants at the training were drawn from the aviation industry in the D R Congo.