CEOs and senior members of the local aviation industry gathered on 23 January at the Birchwood Executive hotel, Johannesburg, to welcome ATNS’s new chief executive officer, Patrick Dlamini.

Patrick Dlamini was the executive vice president and general manager at SAA Cargo, a business unit of South African Airways. Prior to SAA, he was chief operations manager and then business unit executive at Transnet Port Terminals. Patrick holds an MBA from the University of Wales and a BA Commerce from the University of Durban-Westville.

“We welcome Patrick and we look forward to working together with him as he leads the ATNS executive team and the organisation into the next five years,” said the chairman of the ATNS board, Mpho Mamashela.

The comany

ATNS is the sole provider of air traffic navigation, training and associated services within South Africa and is responsible for 10% of the world’s airspace. ATNS operates at 20 aerodromes within the country, including OR Tambo, Cape Town and Durban International Airports. ATNS is internationally recognised as one of the top air navigation service providers (ANSPs) on the globe and is currently safely and efficiently managing about 685,000 aircraft arrival and departure movements per year.

What we do

ATNS’s services extend beyond air traffic control (ATC), and include:

  • Alert, search and rescue coordination services
  • Management of the flexible use of airspace through the Central Airspace Management Unit (CAMU)
  • National slot coordination
  • Support for special events and special requirements such as test flights and demonstration flights
  • Pre-flight information services
  • The implementation and maintenance of a terrestrial-based air navigation infrastructure
  • Radar services for aircraft in distress
  • A flight information service outside of controlled airspace
  • ATC service at appropriate levels, depending on the airspace of operation
  • A flight coordination service with adjacent air traffic service (ATS) providers
  • Lectures and general ATS awareness training to pilots
  • The African Indian Ocean (AFI), Regional Monitoring Agency (ARMA), acting on behalf of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is delegated to South Africa and hosted by ATNS

Our technology

ATNS has renewed the majority of the national communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management infrastructure. In doing so ATNS has met the demands placed on it by the traffic growth experienced over the years, while achieving an excellent safety record. ATNS’ CAPEX spend has increased by 8.1% from ZAR217 million in 2007 to ZAR235 million in 2008.

In 2003 an impressive ZAR228 million state-of-the-art South African advanced air traffic system (SAATS) was commissioned and implemented in 2004. The impact was a significant enhancement in efficiency. As part of the SAATS project the South African airspace was redesigned. Not only has SAATS allowed for the additional sectorisation of airspace but it has also allowed for automated sequencing at Johannesburg and Cape Town, an integrated weather channel, electronic handovers between sectors and the reduction of ATC and pilot workload.

Preparing for 2010 and beyond

Together with other stakeholders, ATNS has progressed well with the preparation of South African skies for the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010. The necessary efforts and resources have been directed towards preparing for the world’s soccer show piece. ATNS and the other stakeholders have:

  • Implemented the first phase of the Atlantic Ocean Random Routing Area (AORRA)
  • Completed the installation and commissioning of the East London, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein Radar systems
  • Supported the design of the ATC complex and control tower for the new international airport at La Mercy
  • Completed the ATNS ATM/cns roadmap 2020
  • Spearheaded the African regional implementation of RVSM – successfully implemented on 25th September 2008
  • Completed the extension and reconfiguration of the trial wide area multilateration system in Cape Town
  • Commenced the process of re-establishing our internal procedure design capability
  • Established the development priorities for GNSS approaches at the airports served by ATNS
  • ATNS has committed a capex spend of ZAR897 million over the next five years

Safety is assured

ATNS has a 15-year track record in providing air traffic and navigational services to South Africa and the southern hemisphere. Safety has stabilised at 3.5 safety occurrences per 100,000 movements in the 2007/08 financial year, down from 6.1 occurrences in 2006. The majority of the safety occurrences fell within the non-life-threatening spectrum of possibilities and were considered to be very low risk to aircraft and their passengers. In order to ensure that safety is never compromised, ATNS:

  • Operates an effective safety and standards management system
  • Continuously investigates ways of improving the risk mitigation process, monitors identified risks facing the business and proactively implements the necessary solutions as appropriate
  • Maintains a mature quality management system, certified to the ISO 9001:2000 standard
  • Utilises a fully resourced internal safety and security oversight capacity

In addition, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) provides a crucial safety performance oversight function, regulating all aspects of the ATNS business from this perspective.

ATC trainee bursary programme

ATNS is proud to provide bursaries for motivated and interested ATC trainees to train to become air traffic controllers (ATCs). An ATC is an important member of the team who ensures the safe, orderly and expeditious travel by air of millions of passengers per annum by ensuring that aircraft are separated from one another and ensuring an organised flow of air traffic.

ATNS is the sole air traffic and navigation services provider (ANSP) in South Africa and provides all of the training for career opportunities in air traffic control and related services at our training academy (ATA) in Johannesburg.

The bursary programme facilitates an opportunity to undergo the required studies and to obtain the relevant exposure in order to qualify as an ATC. The ATC trainee programme consists of three phases; the bursary scheme (bursary contract), the ATC learnership (under fixed term contract) and ATC aerodrome course and validation phase (under fixed term contract). The study bursary provides each bursar with an opportunity to conduct their studies at the ATA and includes a practical exposure period of phase one of the ATC trainee programme.