Strengthening Collaboration For Restart, Recovery And Future Skies

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By Boni Dibate


CANSO brings the world’s air navigation service providers, leading industry innovators and air traffic management specialists together to share knowledge, develop best practice and shape the future for a safe, secure and seamless airspace. Our regional focus is a key part of delivering global transformation and meeting regional needs – and we need this community collaboration now more than ever.


The CANSO Africa Region was established in 2012 to ensure a safe, seamless, and harmonised airspace across Africa. It does this by leading the development and implementation of ATM related interventions, and working closely with member ANSPs and aviation industry partners. These include the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), African States, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI), AFCAC and many more.

Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) must understand the need to work together

CANSO’s work in Africa is based on its strategic framework and vision for the ATM industry, as well as ICAO’s Global ATM Concept and the Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Planning and Implementation Regional Group (APIRG). A significant theme of both is bringing the industry together to share and learn. Indeed connecting the ATM industry to raise the bar for performance is one of CANSO’s key focus areas.


Right now, CANSO is leveraging the power of its network and collaboration among members and stakeholders in the Africa region to drive performance, support restart and recovery, and shape future skies.


Safer together

One such example is the CANSO Africa ATM Safety Peer Review Initiative. This peer review programme comprises five groups of fifteen ANSPs which review each other’s safety management systems (SMS), exchange best practices, and support each other in enhancing safety, using the CANSO Standard Of Excellence (SoE) in Safety Management Systems.


CANSO coordinates this cooperative exercise, and has organised a series of best practice implementation webinars in conjunction. As a result, the participants have seen vast improvements in their SMS and compliance with ICAO Annex 19, raising the bar on safety standards in the region. This initiative has also been adopted by APIRG and the AFI Plan – an ICAO regional implementation plan for aviation safety in Africa.


Efficiency Through Partnership

Preparing for future skies, advancing sustainability and improving performance are CANSO’s key focus areas, and we are already making significant progress in boosting operational efficiency in the region.

For example, air traffic flow management (ATFM) is essential for ensuring smooth and seamless operations, reducing congestion in our skies and bottlenecks at airports.

That’s why CANSO members and other key ATM industry players have developed a strategy to implement collaborative decision making (CDM), airport collaborative decision making (ACDM) and air traffic flow management (ATFM) in the region – the CANSO Mombasa ATFM Roadmap. We launched the implementation phase last year, and are now working together to achieve safe and seamless air travel through high functionality and performance in the region.

This work has been supported by CANSO member, Metron Aviation, sharing insight on optimising air traffic recovery in Africa through ATFM.


Cross-Industry Collaboration

Aviation is an ecosystem, and to truly transform our industry, we must all work together to combine and harmonise our efforts to boost performance, ensure smooth restart and recovery and shape future skies.

For example, to ensure ANSPs meet ICAO recommended practices and enhance runway safety, CANSO Africa is working in partnership with the ICAO Regional Office on the Global Reporting Format (GRF). This is to raise an awareness of the new reporting format, and ultimately ensure safer operations for ATM and air crew.

CANSO has also been working with ICAO to further Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU), assisting States in tackling the required processes, and CAAs and ANSPs in prioritising ASBUs in National Plans. Our goal is to work with key stakeholders to help advance air navigation capacity and boost sustainability through key operational innovations.

We have also pursued collaboration on accommodating new airspace users. Just as we are working with global industry partners to create a blueprint for future skies via the Complete Air Traffic System Global Council, we’re also exploring what our region needs to do.


CANSO partnered with ATNS and the South Africa Civil Aviation Authority to discuss harmonisation of manned and unmanned aviation, the rise of UAVs and their challenges for manned aviation. In this we set out how UAS can be accommodated safely into ATM systems and identified some of the issues that need to be addressed to safely achieve greater UAS integration in the future.


Our Journey Ahead

While it’s fair to say the industry still faces many pandemic-related challenges, I am also amazed by how much our industry and regional community have achieved this past year. The traffic picture is uncertain but the Africa region is putting in place a number of key initiatives that will both strengthen our resiliency and help us carve a new path for the future.

As the voice of ATM, we’ve focussed on delivering value and championing our members. We continue to support ANSP endeavours to improve ATM performance, and we will be organising several information sessions on ATM/CNS technology implementation, as well as webinars on cyber security and just culture in the coming months.





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