In a bid to improve efficiency in response to aeronautical search and rescue, KCAA has shifted from manual system that has been in use for years and launched an automated aeronautical search and rescue system.
According to Business Daily, the system costing Ksh31 million was launched at the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC), which is located at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Before automation, the manual search coordination process took longer in determining the probable area to be searched thereby delaying the mobilisation of search and rescue response agencies.
The Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) was only activated when there was need for Search and Rescue, following a reported emergency. This required mobilization of Search Mission Coordinators who would then proceed to conduct a manual search using maps and charts.
The improved ARCC is now manned on a 24-hour basis with qualified search mission coordinators. The officers have undergone through on-the-job training, to familiarise themselves with the new system and the standard operating procedures.
The automated system will enable KCAA Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) to have continuous coordination, of all Aeronautical Search and Rescue missions within the country. The system will also help KCAA to achieve fast and efficient response, in an event of a Search and Rescue Mission, thereby increasing the chances of saving lives and property.
“With the right data obtained from the System, the search area can now be narrowed to a specific location after which response agencies are informed and this increases the chances of saving lives and property.” KCAA Director-General, Capt. Gilbert M. Kibe was quoted in a media statement.
According to media reports, the new system was put to test by KCAA during the first-ever Search and Rescue drill in East Africa, that was conducted on 3rd December 2019.
Capt. Kibe clearly stated that the Search and Rescue agencies involved during the drill included government agencies such as: the National Police Service (Air wing and Operations), Kenya Defence Forces, National Disaster Management Unit, Kenya Meteorological Department and the Kenya Airports Authority.
All aircrafts operating in Kenya are now required to be fitted with a serviceable Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) which is triggered automatically when the aircraft experiences impact.The new system is powered by satellite technology and will help to pinpoint the location of an aircraft which will advance the search and rescue operations at the airport.