Satellite Network Management Committee Meeting opens in Accra
The 19th Satellite Network Management Committee Meeting has opened in Accra, with a call on participants to use the occasion to show the aviation world that Africa could stand on its own and make strides in the future without external assistance.
Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey, Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, (GCAA) made the request at the meeting that was on the theme: “Enhancing Air Navigation Service Delivery through Satellite Technology”.
He said since AFISNET’s technical and financial support agreement with the European Union expired in 2002, its civil aviation authorities had been able to shoulder the financial and technical burdens.
Air Commodore Mamphey commended technicians and engineers of the GCAA and their counterparts in AFISNET member states for sustaining and maintaining the ageing and somewhat obsolete systems.
“Most airline passengers are unaware of the fact that the safety of the airspace in which they fly is dependent on the integrity, maintainability and availability of numerous radio communication and navigational aids as well as the expertise of engineers, technicians and air traffic service personnel who manage, operate and maintain these facilities”, Air Commodore Mamphey noted.
He stated that although security at airports has been improved since the September 11, 2001 attack on the world trade centre in America, the safety of flights relies mostly on the provision of appropriate Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) equipment by Air Navigation Service Providers in the various flight information regions across the world.
Air Commodore Mamphey said the need to use satellite technology to provide CNS information was the ideal solution to challenges regarding the use of HF radio and VHF radios.
He cited that the HF was noisy thus posing a challenge to both pilots and controllers and the VHF’s line-of-sight limitations and said satellite technology had advantages over microwave links and other transmission systems.
Air Commodore Mamphey said “This is where AFISNET comes in, through the use of satellite technology in the provision of air navigation services, ANSPs are able to meet the demands of the airlines through improved service delivery in the primary areas of communication, navigation and surveillance”.
Madam Difa Attivor, Deputy Minister of Transport, who formally opened the meeting, asked the participants to accelerate implementation of plans for re-engineering the network by 2012 to modernise the system and maximise its efficiency.
She called on member states to work as a team, especially in terms of training, as the safety and efficiency of international civil aviation depended on the skills of the personnel that manage, operate and maintain the systems.
Madam Attivor said “these professionals must not only possess high individual skills, but in order for an international system to function well, they must be able to work together as an international team” thus team members must receive the same high quality training throughout member states”.