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African Navigators Plan Radar Exit

July 28, 2014

Air navigation experts from across the continent have agreed to shift to satellite systems to monitor aircraft movements.

This was the major outcome during a four-day workshop in Kampala.

Eng. Ladislaus Matindi, the Director of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) for the Africa Joint Programme Office said use of satellite systems will be more efficient and safer, not only for the pilots but also passengers on board.

"The use of the radar systems is very expensive. Pilots have to get instructions from different radar operators of different countries. It can also create confusion.

The use of satellite systems will be safe and efficient in the monitoring of crafts," Matindi said.

The workshop centred on the Management of Satellite Navigation Services for African Region.

Matindi said the shift to satellite will also reduce the costs countries incur in setting up radar systems. The construction of a single radar system can cost up to $10million.

"There is need to have accuracy in aircraft management. This Global Positioning System used by radars is not very accurate. They can estimate the position/area an aircraft is flying but can't tell you the exact position. The new system will be able to tell us the exact position, the aircraft is flying," Matindi said.

The introduction of these new measures comes at a time when the aviation sector is facing numerous safety challenges including the loss of airlines while in the skies. The question in case is the loss of Malaysian Airline MH370, which is said to have gotten lost or lost contact with the radar systems over the India Ocean.

Matindi said the use of satellite systems in air navigation will help reduce the operational time of aircrafts, further reduce environment pollution as crafts waste a lot of time in the air burning fuel before landing and increase the number of aircraft traffic as re-routing will become very easy.

Richard Ruhesi, the Director Air Navigation at Uganda'sCivil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the new system is very accurate and can reduce the separation gap between aircrafts flying up to 95%.

"Separation time will become small. The capacity to manage aircrafts will increase and landings will also increase," Ruhesi said.

The EGNOS workshop also devised means for the technology that will help in the search and rescue services of maritime services.

Ruhesi said, "The use of satellite technology will also help up locate not only aircrafts but also movement of Ships in Oceans, Seas and Lakes. Tracing of a sunken ship may be difficult with only the use of GPS technology."

He said the technology will also be used to locate trains on railways at a cheaper cost.

Dr. Rama Makuza, the Uganda CAA managing director said hosting the workshop is an important activity which will improve the safety of all air transport users on the continent.

"Civil Aviation Authority Uganda believes in the SAFIr projects' objective of building capacity in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States for future deployment of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)/European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System in the region," Makuza said.

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Source: AllAfrica

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