(eTN) – Civil Aviation Authorities from across the East African Community met in Kigali last week to discuss further cooperation and integration of air space management in the region, with particular focus on Rwanda and Burundi. The aim is to promote the Unified Flight Information Region program (UFIR), which would pool resources and jointly manage and process relevant information from the member states to make air transport safer and more secure.
Special emphasis was placed on the use of Burundian and Rwandan airspace by aircraft flying in and out of the Congo DR. It is expected that additional monitoring equipment will be put in place in the near future to permit for greater surveillance capabilities and detecting airspace incursions.
Ultimately it is the professed aim of the East African Community to unify air traffic control, not just for the upper airspace, which already is well advanced in its integration, but also the control of other movements by aircraft while flying across the region before they are handed over to the respective towers for their final approach.
Once again aviators contacted by this correspondent pointed out that pending questions over the often criticized non-tariff barriers MUST at last be tackled by the EAC to bring “errant countries” in line with the political goals of the East African Community, whereby aircraft and airlines registered in one member state ought to be accorded the same status and treatment – including landing rights at ALL licensed airfields, aerodromes, and airports; uplift of passengers and cargo; processing of clearances; and the fees charged – as airlines registered in that particular member state.