As an organisation invested in air safety and efficient navigation service practices, Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) invests much time into research, development and consultation with other navigation agencies both in Africa and globally. This week, ATNS is representing South Africa at the 13th SADC VSAT Supervisory Board Meeting, taking place from 29 to 31 March 2017, in Botswana.

Taking place in the capital city, Gaborone, the primary focus of this meeting is around the SADC VSAT network upgrade. The upgrade process which included the acquisition and implementation of the latest technology VSAT equipment is managed by ATNS.

Furthermore, ATNS was also responsible for ensuring a smooth transition of services to the new network and the training of technical maintenance staff. The upgraded network will continue to provide reliable communication services for the safe coordination of air traffic in the SADC and North Eastern Africa regions. It will also be capable of supporting new planned service to further enhance aeronautical services in the regions.

Attendees of this meeting include 14 SADC countries in Africa, with the exception of the DRC – due to political issues. It should be noted, that The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has also been invited, with the strategic intent on gaining endorsement for the network. ICAO is a UN specialised agency established by states in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention of International Civil Aviation.

ICAO works with the Convention’s 191 Member States and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.

These SARPs and policies are used by ICAO Member States to ensure that their local civil aviation operations and regulations conform to global norms, which in turn permits more than 100,000 daily flights in aviation’s global network to operate safely and reliably in every region of the world.

"We are extremely proud of the work that we have done, and are appreciative to have been given the opportunity to assist with the enhancement of the African network," said ATNS Commercial Services Executive, Thabani Myeza.