TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has started discussions with experts to implement an airspace integration project to improve performance in safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
This will be done through deployment of modern equipment and infrastructure facilities in the region.
Last week, a joint meeting of directors of civil aviation and senior military officials took place in Rwanda to discuss the implementation of the COMESA airspace integration project.
A statement availed to the Daily Mail by COMESA head of corporate communication Mwangi Gakunga said the project seeks to establish seamless upper airspace in the region.
“The objective of the meeting was to review a study conducted by the Technical and Financial Feasibility COMESA Airspace Integration Project.
“This includes the strategic technical and operations options for the provision of seamless upper airspace air navigation services using the COMESA Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) systems,” Mr Gakunga said.
Commenting on the development, Rwanda Minister of State for Transport Alexis Nzahabwanimana urged COMESA member states to lead the way in liberalising their airspaces to inspire other African countries to follow suit.
Dr Nzahabwanimana said many hurdles that are placed on the way of a liberalised airspace makes Africa the most difficult for air travel and this needs to be addressed to promote regional trade.
“Rwanda has gone beyond reciprocal gestures of liberalising its airspace and has opened it to all African countries,” he said.
And COMESA assistant secretary general Kipyego Cheluget said the CNS/ATM will assist the region to establish a seamless upper airspace by deploying satellite-based air navigation technology.
“It will enhance safety and flow for general air traffic across the area of the seamless upper airspace, thus optimising capacity and the environmental impact thus meeting the requirements of all airspace users whilst enhancing efficiency,” Mr Cheluget said.