The Deputy Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, yesterday visited the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS)’s Operations Centre and thereafter celebrated with Board Members, Executive Managers and staff, the company’s significant milestones achieved over the past 20 years.

"I am ecstatic that our coming here coincide with a great milestones commemoration where we as a Transport family take out time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our very own Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) as South Africa and Africa’s leading air navigation services provider. ATNS has seen the growth of the industry, the challenges, the achievements, as well as innovative ways of delivering world-class safety and operational performance," said the Deputy Minister in her congratulatory message.

ATNS was established in 1993, ninety (90) years after the invention of powered flight. A lot has changed since then. That year, ATNS embarked on a process of commercialisation designed to re-orientate the company to play a central role as a relevant and credible service provider. ATNS accepted the challenges and realised that in order to be cutting-edge and to best utilise business opportunities, it needed to improve service efficiencies, by providing better and more cost-effective services. This entailed providing infrastructure and refocusing human resource capacity.

ATNS’s newly-appointed CEO, Mr. Thabani Mthiyane said that the South African aviation infrastructure is considered to be one of the best in the world, contributing to the country’s aviation safety record.

"It is for this reason that ATNS continues to invest wisely in this infrastructure to support the country’s overall transport infrastructure. Through these activities ATNS provides significant contributions to the South African and the continent’s aviation industry, thereby promoting safer skies" concluded Mr. Mthiyane.

For the past twenty (20) years, ATNS has been on a high, achieving the following significant and notable successes within the Air Traffic Management (ATM) environment: The ATNS Air Traffic Management (ATM) Roadmap which was developed during 2010, is meant to achieve an interoperable, global air traffic management system for all users during all phases of flight, meet agreed levels of safety; provide for optimum economic operations, be environmentally sustainable and to ultimately meet all national security requirements.

As the Chairman of the AFI Flight Plan (FPL) 2012 Task Force, ATNS lead the African and Indian Ocean Regional efforts towards successful transition from the traditional flight plan format to the new format that took effect in November 2012. As the communications hub ATNS diligently and regularly updated the Aeronautical Information Management systems to support this implementation and allow for the successful transition in the Region.

ATNS has implemented a single repository of aeronautical information, called the Centralised Aeronautical Database (CAD). The CAD ensures amongst others; aeronautical data integrity and quality.