How CANSO is supporting seamless operations and ATM skills in Africa


Thomas Kodjoe Duopah, Deputy Director, Air Traffic Services, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority shares his experience of CANSO Africa Conference 2019.

Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has been a member of CANSO for some time but last week was my first time attending the CANSO Africa Conference, which was held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on 2-6 September 2019. I have been to many conferences, seminars, and workshops in aviation but this conference is a unique one that has given me a valuable insight into the aviation industry owing to the in-depth knowledge and high quality of presentations by subject matter experts.

The theme for the Conference, ‘Towards a seamless African sky and its impact on the next generation of aviation professionals’, was timely as there has been a lot of apprehension in the region when it comes to seamless ATM operations and the skills of ATM professionals in the future.

The Conference explored this from a number of different perspectives, from the tools and technologies the region needs to improve performance, to the partnerships and initiatives that are driving change.

A seamless future for Africa

For me, I was most intrigued by the session that considered if the current skill level in ATM can cope with future seamless operations.

The excellent presentations by the guest speakers as well as panel of experts discussions gave deeper insight on the above topic and went to the extent of strengthening the confidence of ATM professionals at the conference. Participants were made to understand that we are already in seamless operations and that we are yet to consolidate the gains which need more cooperation, collaboration and share understanding of the complex ATM interoperable systems.

ATM professionals have been at the forefront of the implementation of technological initiatives such as PBN, AMHS, AIDC, ICAO 2012 FLIGHT PLANS, CCOs, CDOs etc. During the implementation of the afore-mentioned, the knowledge and skills of ATM professional were upgraded through modern concept of training like CBT to develop their skills to commensurate with the level of implementation of the technological improvement initiatives.

Delivering regional best practice

Another topic which also attracted my attention was the Mombasa ATFM Roadmap. There have been some schools of thought that most states in Africa do not need to implement ATFM if one looks at what the ATM DOC 4444 says about its implementation, and that ATFM is implemented when demand is expected to exceed capacity.

The excellent guest speaker, Simon Zwane, Senior Manager, ATM Planning and Research, ATNS, did a great job to change mindsets, explaining that for CANSO ATFM implementation has become very necessary for seamless operations initiatives and ATM contingency situations etc. The deeper knowledge that I have gained from the conference will greatly assist me in the implementation of ATFM in my state.

Leveraging global knowledge

The expert knowledge CANSO offers from a global perspective also should be mentioned, and it is with excitement that the region will see the revival of the Africa safety and operation workgroups. These will provide a much-needed regional focus for the work to implement global best practice.

In conclusion, the  2019 Africa conference has been one of the most well attended, well organized, timely as well as high level of interactions between CEOs/DGs and participants, not mentioning the quality of networking and partnership that have been established by all. The conference was loaded with a lot of knowledge and information that I need to enable me to exhibit a high level of professionalism in the execution of my work. I will therefore say big KUDOS to CANSO Africa and the host for the excellent work done.

CANSO Conferences Africa