By Chuks Ehirim
Aviation stakeholders in Africa are currently in Abuja the Nigerian capital to brainstorm over the fate of the industry in the region as well as the module to adopt to achieve the best practices in the sector which has been described as the hub of transportation the world over.
The meeting which is the 20th in the series sitting under the aegis of the AFI Satellite Network Management Committee is being attended by representatives from across Africa including South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Algeria, Angola etc.
In his keynote address, Director General of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Engr. Mazi Nnamdi Udoh who was represented by the Director of Safety Electronics and Safety Services (DSEES), Engr. Ifeanyi Nwankwo said the meeting was coming at an auspicious time especially with the challenges of transiting from the present to the new directives of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The ICAO is an agency of the United Nations (UN) which codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport aimed at ensuring safe and orderly growth of the aviation industry.
The NAMA boss further posited that efforts are on by the Satellite Network Management Committee (SNMC) to engineer the entire network to make it more efficient and cost effective for member states to run and maintain.
“We are here to talk about our common interest as a body and I am optimistic that at the end of this gathering, all the member states would have learnt one new experience on how to improve on what exists currently.
“Another benefit is that we will all increase and improve on our use of the band-weight which is which is what empowers the operation of any agency in the continent. Interestingly, since the band- weight is very expensive and scarce too, it is only proper that we meet to discuss on how best to share and manage what we have for the benefit of our different operators across the continent. That is the only way we can maximize what is available for us to use in the satellite”.
Also in his remarks, the ICAO Regional Officer, Francois Xavier Salmbanga said the body was impressed by the arrangement made by NAMA to host the meeting adding that the gesture again reinforces the usual Nigerian commitment in building the inter-African integration at every given opportunity.
He said the current Aeronautical Satellite Telecommunications Network for the AFI Region (AFISNET) was designed to fix the persistent deficiencies noticed in the provision of Aeronautical Fixed Service in Western and Central Africa.
“This network financed in the beginning by the European Union (EU) and realized in 1994 allows to insure on one hand, the direct vocal communications between air traffic controllers for the coordination of the movements of aircrafts and on the other hand, the transmission of messages carrying flight plans, aeronautical information and aeronautical metrological data”.
Salmbanga further revealed that in the last 20 years, AFISNET has become a trans regional aeronautical satellite telecommunication network which includes more than 25 African countries and extends to Europe including France and Spain.