The South Sudanese government has signed a contract with NavPass to claim ownership of its sovereign airspace and collect overflight fees for the first time. Using the firm’s automated technology, South Sudan will be able to collect fees from all aircraft
using the airspace; a source of revenue that could bring in tens of millions of dollars each year once the full airspace is reclaimed.
Capturing the movements of all aircraft in the country’s skies in real time, NavPass’s unique technology will automate the fee collection process with proceeds invested back into the country’s air infrastructure, in line with the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) principles.
NavPass further note that this fully accounted for process will see these funds enter an escrow account for transparency. It said, as part of the deal, NavPass will support the government with the documentation needed with ICAO to claim full sovereignty over its airspace.
NavPass CEO Thomas Perkins said: “As the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, the sky is the limit for the
region’s airspace. “We are proud to work with the South Sudanese government and to help it take full ownership of its skies. Together we hope to connect more people to the country, more often, and deliver the opportunities for prosperity that come from a more modern and safe airspace.”
“At NavPass, we aim to provide the tools to help countries on their journey to self-reliance, and signal to the world that they are open for business. We see this as the start of a promising new chapter for NavPass across the region, as we continue to assist
governments in ensuring their airspace is not only revenue generating, but safer.”
NavPass will also use its expertise on the ground to train authorities and airport staff to improve the safety of its air infrastructure, bringing it in line with international standards set out by the ICAO. The training is aimed at enhancing the global connectivity of South Sudan, a landlocked country that relies on aviation traffic for trade and business.
According to NavPass, the Minister of Transport, HE Madut Biar Yel, said: “We are delighted NavPass have commenced work in South Sudan, with work already underway with our civil authorities to improve air safety in line with international standards.
“Combining this important work, with collection of fees from passing aircraft for South Sudan will be a great benefit to the country and our people, helping attract more air operators and increase economic development in our country.”
As part of the contract NavPass will first work with the government to optimize its lower airspace, covering the departures and arrivals of flights into Juba to make them more efficient and safer. This includes training for air traffic control officers, establishing new protocols with neighbouring airspaces and improving communications equipment.
The NavPass system will also provide situational awareness to air traffic control towers, giving them the ability to see the aircraft in their skies for the first time. NavPass will then work on the safety and efficiency of the upper airspaces, which include flights
passing through the country, such as expanding aircraft surveillance technology across South Sudan and establishing new departures and approaches at key airports. It’s at this stage where overflight fees are expected to be collected for the first time, NavPass stated.
Set up in 2018, NavPass uses a unique AI system pinpointing the location of all airplanes in the skies in 3D, which also accurately predicts their movements. This is integrated with an automatic system for charging fees for when airplanes enter and leave different sovereign airspaces, which is the first technology of its kind for what has traditionally been a manual process.
The company also works with ICAO and International Air Transport Association (IATA) subject-matter experts, providing expertise on how to implement the most up-to-date airspace safety and efficiency measures in the world. According to NavPass, the team consists of professionals with more than 150 years of aviation experience, and was co-founded by Thomas Perkins, who combines 41 years of experience in the industry with a background in technology and e-commerce.