Air travel in Africa is expected to increase tremendously in the near future, how airlines and airports work together to address this increase is still not very clear, however, sector players know there is an urgent need to address this. This is the key discussion item when over 200 aviation professionals from across the continent meet for the next three days at the White Sands Hotel in Mombasa.

The aviation professionals are attending the Africa CANSO 2018 Conference in Mombasa with the aim to boost collaborative efforts to improve the safety standards of Air Traffic Management (ATM) operations across the region under the theme: “Improving Efficiency through Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) and Air Traffic Flow Management (ATM).”

“Aviation is a rapidly changing industry with new technologies and entrants in the air traffic management operating environment presenting opportunities as well as challenges necessitating the need for a superior, efficient, effective, safe and seamless or unified airspace utilization among industry players. By spearheading the Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) process which is an enabler of Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM), Africa will link up with other ATFMs so as to have real time flight information for improved Air Traffic Management (ATM) efficiency,” said Capt. Gilbert Kibe, Director General, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority in his speech during the opening ceremony

CDM in Aviation aims to improve operational efficiency at airports by reducing delays, improving the predictability of events during the progress of a flight and optimizing the utilization of resources.

The activities of airlines and airports are complementary in nature but the industry is in need of better coordination between all the aviation partners; that is Airport Operations (Airport Operators, Ground Handlers), Airlines and Air Traffic Controllers if operational efficiency is to be expected. Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) enables the partners to share information and work together more efficiently and transparently with the common goal of improved overall performance, bringing a common situational awareness between all partners involved as well as refining the processes and information flows.

Speaking at the CANSO Africa Conference 2018, CANSO Deputy Director General, Simon Hocquard, said: “Within the Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) region, and anywhere in the world, partnership and collaboration are key to improving ATM safety, operations and boosting connectivity. In fact, I believe that achieving anything requires more than one person or company – we all need help from each other. Whether that is commitments across the industry or between CANSO Members, solid partnerships allow us to be effective advocates and cooperative partners on both a strategic and practical level.”

In aviation, interoperability is the capability of two or more networks, systems, components or applications to exchange information and to be able to use this information for technical or operational purposes, so enabling them to operate effectively together. The intention is for an aircraft to be able to fly anywhere in the world with just one set of equipment that will be interoperable with any ground-based aviation system, and with just one set of accompanying procedures.

From robust industry partnerships, to embracing tools and technologies and finding common solutions to common problems, CANSO called on the air traffic management (ATM) community in Africa to leverage the power of partnership and innovation to work together to improve safety, efficiency and effectiveness of air traffic management performance across the region and pave way for a seamless sky.

Officiating the opening of the conference on behalf of Hon. James Macharia, EGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Transport; Hon. Najib Balala EGH, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife reiterated Kenya’s commitment towards compliance with global aviation safety and security standards and commended CANSO for convening expert discourse through which recommendations that will see the region plug into ICAO initiatives such as the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan and the “No Country Left Behind” Initiative.

“To this end, Kenya is committed to providing technical assistance and support to our counterparts in our areas of expertise with a view of attaining comparable levels of Effective Implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and enhancement in provision of air navigation services. This will ensure improved aviation safety and security performance in the region,” said Hon, Balala.

Currently, Kenya’s score on compliance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) stands at 78.15% and 87.13% as audited under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) and Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach respectively, a performance which is above the global average.

This 6th CANSO Africa Conference and the first time it is being hosted in Kenya, a gathering that has brought together aviation experts from over 20 countries across Africa and beyond including Air Traffic Management (ATM) professionals, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), Air Traffic Management (ATM) system manufacturers and airline operators/carriers.

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