The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb.
Liberat Mfumukeko has commended the People’s Republic of China for the
extensive support extended to the EAC not only in Civil Aviation
sector but also in many other areas critical to the Community’s
integration at the bilateral and regional levels.
The Secretary General, in particular, hailed the Civil Aviation
Administration of China (CAAC) and China Electronic Technology Group
Corporation (CETC) for organizing and facilitating a three-day
EAC-China High Level Forum on Air Traffic Management (ATM), which
concluded on 27th November, 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Secretary General, who was represented by the EAC Director for
Infrastructure, Mr. Philip Wambugu, disclosed that the EAC is
currently the leading Regional Economic Community in matters of Civil
Aviation, thanks to the many collaborative projects and programmes
supported and implemented by the Partner States.
“Collaboration with China at the regional level has been growing and
the Secretariat, on behalf of the Partner States, wishes to
acknowledge the great support by the China Civil Aviation
Administration during the MA 60 Aircraft Type Certificate Acceptance
Procedures and the continued support to Burundi CAA in meeting its
Safety and Airworthiness obligations to allow the commencement of MA
60 Operations in the region,” said Amb. Mfumukeko.
“The type, acceptance and certification of the MA 60 aircraft opens
the doors for EAC and China to expand their cooperation in the
aviation sector through various avenues including technology transfer,
purchase/lease and operations of Chinese aircraft and parts among
others. This is a critical milestone achieved by both parties and is
also in line with the signed EAC-China Economic, Trade and Investment
Cooperation Agreement,” added the Secretary General.
The Political Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Mr.
Yang Tong, underscored the readiness of the People’s Republic of China
to support the development of a robust aviation sector in the EAC
region. He also pledged to take forward with the Chinese government
the implementation of the proposals arising out of the Forum.
The Forum was characterised by various presentations including on the
status of the China Civil ATM; a glimpse of EAC Integrated ATM by
China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC); status of ATM
in EAC by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority; and on the Establishment of
the EAC Upper Flight Information Region (EAC-UFIR) Project. The main
objective of the EAC-UFIR Project is the creation of a single bloc of
upper airspace (above flight level 24,500 feet above sea level) to
ensure efficient levels of safety and advantages in capacity,
efficiency and performance over the present scheme in the Regional Air
Navigation services provision.
The EAC-China Forum on ATM was also attended by the Chairpersons of
the Partner States’ Civil Aviation Authorities; Representatives of
CAAC and CETC; Director Generals of Partner States’ Civil Aviation
Authorities; the Executive Director, Civil Aviation Safety and
Security Oversight Agency.
A Joint Statement on the EAC-China Air Traffic Management (ATM) High
Level Forum was issued at the end of the Forum (attached).
Notes to Editors
The Xian MA60 (“Modern Ark 60”) is a turboprop-powered airliner
produced by China’s Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation under the
Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The MA60 is a stretched
version of the Xian Y7-200A, which was produced based on the An-24 to
operate in rugged conditions with limited ground support and has short
take-off and landing (STOL) capability.
Article 92 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC provides
that the Partner States shall harmonize their policies on Civil
Aviation in order to promote the development of safe, reliable,
efficient and economically viable civil aviation with a view to
developing appropriate infrastructure, aeronautical skills and
technology, as well as the role of aviation in support of other
In particular, Sub Article (h) provides that the Partner States shall
consider ways to develop, maintain and coordinate in common, their
navigational, communications and meteorological facilities for the
provision of safe air navigation and the joint management of their air
space. Pursuant to the implementation of the Treaty and clearly in
line with the objectives of the EAC-China ATM Forum, the EAC has
prioritized the establishment and operationalization of a Unified
Flight Information Region with the objective being the creation of a
single block of upper airspace over Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi,
Rwanda, and South Sudan operating eventually from a single area
control center. Further an ongoing implementation of the Global
Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Pilot Study recommendations is
aimed at making the region safer for civil aviation operations.
African civil aviation is five times riskier in terms of aviation
accidents than the international average. This simply translates to
the urgent need to address all those factors that precipitate such
accidents and incidences including those related to air navigation and
traffic management deficiencies.
It is, therefore, gratifying that China and the EAC are developing
cooperation links in these very areas aimed at not only improving air
traffic management in the region but also addressing the bedrock of
issues that would make the continent a safer aviation market for all.
This Forum comes at an opportune time recalling that ICAO recently
adopted the Global Air Navigational Plan (GNAP 2013-2028). Pursuant to
the ICAO Plan the EAC Partner States are currently investing in the
implementation of the Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) to achieve
Block 0 requirements by 2018.
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