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Kenya Government calls for joint policies for air travel in Africa

MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Tuesday called on African governments to device joint policies for the air travel within the continent.

Gilbert Kibe, director general of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), also said air travel in Africa is expected to increase tremendously in the near future but how airlines and airports work together to address this increase is still not very clear.

“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,” Kibe told a regional conference in the coastal city of Mombasa.

He said 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.

The sixth edition of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) conference brought together more than 200 aviation professionals from across the continent.

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

The three-day conference aims to boost collaborative efforts to improve the safety standards of Air Traffic Management (ATM) operations across the region.

Najib Balala, tourism and wildlife cabinet secretary, called on the continent’s aviation industry players to work together to increase the number of visitors to the region through standardized policies.

Currently, Balala said, only 60 million of the 1.4 billion global travelers come to Africa. “The standards of service delivery must be international. We cannot have standards that are in Africa only and they are better in the First World,” Balala said.

He said there are frustrations that international visitors experience in African airports that make them never want to come back again.

“Our aspiration is to see us become efficient to the levels of Singapore and Dubai,” he said.

“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 Balala.

Hamza Johari, CANSO Africa chairman and the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority director general, said Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) approach taken by African aviation industry players will go a long way to removing some obstacles that prevent international travelers from coming to Africa.

Johari, however, said technological challenges in most African countries prevent the provision of seamless air navigation services.

“We have the human resource but these need more training on the right technology required to offer better air navigation services,” Johari said.

He also noted that flight information regions differ in African countries in terms of polices and regulations making flying across African airspaces hectic for most airlines. This makes some airlines avoid African routes.

“We want to have seamlessness in these flight information regions so that when an airline gets into a North African region airspace it will fly seamlessly into the South African region,” Johari said.

Kibe said there is need to involve all stakeholders in decision-making in matters concerning air navigating services.

“Usually, we would be in a cocoon and only sit as the particular air navigation service provider or the particular airport and make decisions by themselves,” said Kibe.

Now, the approach is to involve the air navigation service providers, the civil aviation authorities, the airlines, ground handlers, customs, immigration departments, and other stakeholders to jointly make a decision.


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