CANSO and ICAO champion ASBU implementation in Africa


Boni Dibate, CANSO Director Africa Affairs, explains CANSO’s collaborative approach to improving regional ATM performance.

CANSO is helping to improve ATM performance by strengthening its partnerships with aviation industry organisations in Africa. CANSO recently held a joint Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) workshop with ICAO in Entebbe, Uganda, to pave the way for key advances in the region.

The Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) concept advances the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) (Doc 9750) goal of implementing regional aviation performance improvements. The concept focuses on four performance improvement areas: airport operations; global interoperable systems and data; optimum capacity and flexible flights; and efficient flight paths. The ASBUs outline air and ground equipment and timelines for standards and procedures implementation, and help to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of air transport.

The implementation of ASBUs, along with initiatives like air traffic flow management (ATFM), collaborative decision-making (CDM) performance based navigation (PBN), safety management systems (SMS) and runway safety, are key priorities for ANSPs in Africa. In line with ICAO recommendations, CANSO is therefore committed to advancing ASBU implementation by addressing regional challenges and finding workable solutions.

An important aspect of this is working in collaboration with IATA, ICAO, ACI, AFRAA, AFCAC, regional associations and other relevant stakeholders. CANSO has been working with ICAO on an ASBU implementation initiative since 2014, when an initial framework for implementation was laid out. While there has been progress since, implementation has been a challenge for ANSPs and is a key concern in the context of rising air traffic both domestically and internationally.

To address this, CANSO organised an ASBU workshop with ICAO on 24-25 April. It was attended by 109 participants from nine ANSPs and eight international organisations, and explored the status of ASBU implementation and the challenges of implementation. It provided ANSPs with an improved understanding of the ASBU framework components, assisted them in completing the Air Navigation Reporting Forms, and helped the CAAs and ANSPs determine the way forward for implementing and prioritising ASBUs in National Plans.

The work does not stop there. Following the workshop, it was resolved that each ANSP would create specific ASBU focal points, ensure a multidisciplinary team, and help create organisational and national masterplans for ASBU implementation, meeting the specific needs of each ANSP and State.

The participants also agreed that States and ANSPs must work together to facilitate the implementation of A-CDM and ATFM, as encouraged by the CANSO ATFM Mombasa Roadmap. The interoperability of ATM systems is vital to the safe implementation of the ASBU modules, and States and ANSPs are urged to work closely with the systems and equipment suppliers to ensure the harmonisation of ATM systems in the region.

In addition, the workshop called for States and ANSPs to focus on developing a concept of operations for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), as operations of drones and Unmanned Airial Systems (UAS) continue to increase. CANSO will present these recommendations at the 6thAFI Aviation Week in Kampala, Uganda, on 13 -17 May 2019. From there, it will be the role of CANSO, its ANSP Members and States in the region to work together with aviation industry partners to take the next step in ASBU implementation and truly transform the performance of aviation.

To explore this and other key topics in the region, I urge you to save the date for the next CANSO Africa Conference, which will be held on 26-29 August in Daar es Salaam, Tanzania. Here ANSPs and industry partners and stakeholders will examine key issues and opportunities in the region and the tools and tactics for enhancing ATM.

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