ANC Talks with ASECNA

The Air Navigation Commission is sharing this series of engaging discussions that bring industry and aviation stakeholders together to discuss different aspects of aviation.

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The Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) was created in 1959 with a mission to provide public services that ensure the safety of air navigation and aeronautical meteorology; the publication of aeronautical information, rescue and fire fighting at aerodromes under their responsibility, maintaining operational equipment and facilities of CNS, ATM, and aeronautical meteorological systems.

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ASECNA also supports the management of national activities and airport management (operational and commercial) on some specific airports at the request of relevant member states. This is carried out by a specific Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with concerned States for that purpose.

In November the Director General of ASECNA, Mr. Mohamed Moussa,  and the Director of Air Navigation Operations, Mr. Louis Bakienon, provided a presentation on the Cooperative Management of Airspaces with a focus on the ASECNA organizational model. They addressed the strategy for meeting expected ATM performances, ASECNA major projects underway to meet the future needs and the Challenges arising from COVID-19 pandemic. Also present at the ANC talk was Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, the fifth and past president of the ICAO Council, as well as Mr Nabil Naoumi, the current president of the Air Navigation Commission.

ASECNA works in close cooperation with ICAO and international institutions of aviation and:

  • has hosted and supported the ICAO Flight Procedure Programme (FPP) for the African-Indian Ocean (AFI) Region;
  • was designated by ICAO in 2011 to provide Air Traffic Services (ATS) for a newly independent country of South Sudan;
  • has several projects managed by the Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB);
  • carries out an active role in the Edward Warner Award
  • cooperates with the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC)
  • is a member of The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO); and
  • holds an office at the ICAO Headquarters in Montréal.

Among its activities, ASECNA:

  • participates in an annual technical and financial panel with the International Air Transport Association (IATA);
  • consults with users before implementing new technology (ADS-B SBAS);
  • presents and carries out discussions of ASECNA investment programme with users before adoption;
  • consults with States users (local and military users of airspace).

As part of its cooperation with other air navigation service providers (ANSPs), ASECNA:

  • works to draw resources;
  • develops a common capacity and technical exchange of staff resources;
  • assesses future needs;
  • coordinates exchanges of spare parts of equipment etc.;
  • ensures agreement on the maintenance methodology of very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) stations;
  • supports and regulates the Navigational Aids (NAVAIDs); and
  • works toward improvement of a common strategy and ANSP Peer-Review.
Technical and operational organization

ASECNA organizes the airspaces and air traffic services; the Flight Information Regions (FIR) of Dakar Terminal FIR, Dakar Oceanic FIR, Niamey FIR, N’djamena FIR, ASECNA manages 16.1 million square kilometres of airspace, covering six African flight information regions (FIRs) – Antananarivo, Brazzaville and other ASECNA States.

The six regional area control centres (ACC) include en-route/approach, air traffic control service; flight information service and alerting service including fifty-seven control towers.

ASECNA owns an autonomous network of infrastructure, communication, navigation and surveillance as to facilitate Communication Navigation Surveillance (CNS) for its members.

Air traffic and meteorological services

Traffic Management Standards applied for longitudinal separation, Vertical separation and Provision of Meteorological Services to Aviation users to include; Aerodrome and en-route weather forecasts; Exchange of Aeronautical Meteorological data and information in digital format (IWXXM); Develop capacities in terms of collaborative production; prepare for creating of the Regional Hazardous Weather Advisory Centre (RHWAC) and to develop the capabilities to calibrate meteorological sensors.

The aeronautical information management (AIM) Services Organization structured in 3 levels, Aerodrome AIM, International NOTAMs offices and central aeronautical information services (AIS) and Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Aircraft Operations (PANS-OPS).

One of the bigger success stories of ASECNA is CNS Maintenance and Flight Procedures increased capabilities for NAVAIDs calibration, In-flight checks, and In-flight validations with two aircraft equipped with a testbed.

Aerodrome services – charts and flight procedures design

It provides rescue and fire fighting services to thirty-four aerodromes, 900 firefighters, 197 firefighting vehicles and Aerodrome Level of Protection: 8 to 9 at the main aerodromes and 6 at the other aerodromes.

It provides aerodrome operational lighting system. The Flight procedure Design is consisted of the conventional flight procedures and Performance-based Navigation (PBN) Procedures.

The ASECNA strategy for meeting the expected Air Traffic management (ATM) performances is carried out through a Safety Management System (SMS), the implementation of Quality Management Systems (QMS) and Integrated Management Systems (IMS). The SMS was established and implemented according to a 5-year investment plan (2009-2013) with ICAO’s specifications. ASECNA implemented SMS through its main components: risk management and safety insurance and safety promotion. Additionally this work is carried out through systematic analysis of safety-related events following the Safety Management Manual (ICAO Doc 9859); the adoption of a Just Culture Policy; monitoring and follow-up of established safety performance indicators; as well as periodic review meetings to evaluate the level of both SMS implementation and ASECNA safety performance.

ASECNA ensures the safety performance indicators and targets based on a Letter of Assignment by the Committee of Ministers of ASECNA and annual reporting to ASECNA Statutory Bodies (Board of Administrators).

The Roadmap for ASBU Modules implementation consists of a strategic plan adopted in 2017 by Member States for 15 years (2018-2032), an Annual Roadmap assigned to the Director General by the Committee of Ministers, key performance indicators and targets to be met annually by ASECNA. The monitoring of Air Navigation Services (ANS) provision by a specific commission of the Board of Administrators for Safety monitoring.

The Strategic Vision 2018 – 2032 divides into 3 phases: Phase 1 is from 2018-2022, Phase 2: 2023-2027, and Phase 3: 2028-2032. The roadmap covers performance improvements to the following areas: aerodrome operations, the globally interoperable system, and data, optimizing capacity, and flexible flights through global collaborative ATM and efficient flight paths – through trajectory-based operations.

Among the many projects ASECNA currently has underway:

  • The implementation of space-based ADS-B network with ASECNA with data for all sensors integrated into their ATC TopSky by their own technicians; monitoring and recording of performance parameters for the safety assessment process;
  • CONOPS Evolution with the following timeline: In 2020: Operational use of SB ADS-B data for surveillance in the terrestrial part without any change of the separation minima used in the beginning; from 2020: Progressively after others the safety assessment 10NM and 5NM minimums in terminal areas; from 2021 to 2023: 15NM in oceanic regions and 10NM in the remote continental area under the regional agreement; from 2023 to 2032: implementation of SBAS, applications of reduced separation minima, up to 5NM en route with navigation requirements.
  • Implementation of an air navigation satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) for Africa and Indian Ocean. The SBAS architecture pre-operational broadcast began in September 2020 with ten ground stations for testing and Ionospheric characterization deployed by ASECNA, SBAS Payload on the Nigerian satellite NIGCOMSAT-1R and Pre-operational signal: availability level of 99,9%+ on the areas where the tests are conducted.
COVID-19 Pandemic Challenges

The effects of COVID-19 have been as devastating to the industry around the world. ASECNA’s strategy has been to ensure business continuity projects are underway. They have focussed on four priorities:

There are specific procedures required to ensure business continuity:

  • Additional services: AIC must provide the following additional services (by request): flight plans for segments between significant waypoints; procedures for continue climbing and descending; the avoidance of holding stack during approaches by applying radar vectoring; including the specific procedures in oceanic FIRs to allow aircraft to use flight levels that allow them to benefit from jet stream and weather conditions.
  • Objectives: achieving the following objectives: a safe and efficient operation for the flights; saving time, fuel, costs, and the contribution of ANSP to airlines recovery.
  • Advocacy for ANSPs: There has been a loss of more than 70% of the traffic. 30% of traffic remaining traffic is not paying their invoicea even though they received help from States or donors. ASECNA is collecting less than 20% of its regular monthly revenue, it will be impossible to maintain the current situation long-term, there is a need for ICAO support in advocating for support to ANSPs.

The presentation by ASECNA was well-received with many interesting thought-provoking questions and answers that followed.