COMESA – Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
In 2011 the African Development Bank (AfDB) and COMESA agreed to initiate a regional airspace integration project across the 19 COMESA member states. Airspace harmonisation within the region is essential to ensuring seamless and sustainable development of the air transport system and will result in improved safety and security for all aviation stakeholders.
In 2016, prior to project implementation, AfDB and COMESA contracted Egis to assess the technical and financial feasibility of a seamless upper airspace within the COMESA member countries.
Role of Egis
The challenge was to determine the requirements for implementing a cost-effective regional Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system and to build capacity within COMESA member states by moving from fragmented airspace into a single sky.
We provided a mixed pool of experienced international consultants, with substantial knowledge in their respective fields, who carefully addressed the following key aspects:
- Operational and technical CNS/ATM;
- Safety, system engineering and interoperability;
- Economic, financial, and environmental issues of air navigation provision, in line with emerging African regulations.
We prepared detailed analysis and recommendations on the strategic, technical and operational options for the provision of seamless upper airspace air navigation services using CNS/ATM systems.
Each of the proposed solutions was analysed and discussed with regulators and stakeholders from participating COMESA Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), during workshops, steering committee meetings and training sessions, all organised locally with COMESA member states.
Scope of works included:
- The review of relevant documentation;
- On-site collection of the required operational and organisational data via interviews and questionnaires in Mauritius, Sudan, Uganda, IATA and ICAO in South-Africa and Nairobi);
- The organisation of several workshops (6): Cairo, Victoria Falls (2), Naivasha and Kigali (2);
- A one-week training course on CNS/ATM delivered to more than 50 delegates from COMESA member states. This training organised in Cairo enabled detailed understanding of the project and kicked off the transfer of knowledge on new concepts of operations and anticipated approaches on systems specification, design and safety management;
- The organisation of a study tour in Europe with EUROCONTROL (Brussels and Maastricht) for the delegates of 7 COMESA member states of the Project Steering Committee and a conference reviewing similar successful programmes around the world: COCESNA and ASECNA;
- A 3-day training course on Cost-Benefit Analysis techniques organised in Sudan for the COMESA’s member states to transfer knowledge on carrying out effective cost-benefit analyses at their State level, including management of risk and uncertainty; and
- The publication of a newsletter.
This major study included significant in-region and on-the-ground knowledge transfer. Egis delivered a comprehensive report including a thorough analysis of the current situation at the regional level, focusing on ATM systems, proposals for an airspace re-structuring plan and master plan around the potential creation of fewer or one Upper Area Control Centre (UACC).
The report also addressed the financial feasibility of establishing COMESA Unified Single Upper Airspace, and the creation of regional entities (clusters) working on common key safety improvement areas.
The financial assessment explored the set-up of a revenue collection and sharing system and a proposal for an investment programme around the required CNS/ATM infrastructure.
Safety improvement was stimulated by the adoption of a common vision inside the clusters and growth in safety maturity was supported by tools and methodologies disseminated by the Egis team.