The Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) Company of South Africa will be showcasing its newest and advanced high technology product at the three-day prestigious global World Air Traffic Management (ATM) Congress, starting Tuesday 12 February 2013 and running until 14 February 2013 in Madrid, Spain.

South Africa has acquired a solution similar to the European Aeronautical Information System (AIS) Database, also known as EAD, currently used by Eurocontrol and the European ATM Community, to ensure that South Africa aligns itself with global initiatives and technologies.

This new aviation technology is called the Central Aeronautical Database (CAD) System.

In November 2012, at the Twelfth Air Navigation Conference (AN-Conf/12) held in Montreal, Canada, ATNS was afforded an opportunity to present a paper based on the implementation of CAD by South Africa, and the benefits it holds for aviation in South Africa and the rest of the African Continent.

A very important input outlined – was about the new and future technologies in air navigation that require the availability and timely exchange of accurate and quality assured digital Aeronautical Information within Air Traffic Systems. It was explained during the presentation – that one of the International Civil Aviation Organizations’ (ICAO) requirements as defined in the ICAO AIS/Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) Roadmap – is the creation of a centralised repository for Aeronautical Information.

The ICAO roadmap identifies the major strategic milestones recommended by ICAO and, in line with other South African strategies, to drive the continuing improvement of aeronautical information services in terms of quality, timeliness and the identification of new services and products to better serve aeronautical users. These strategies and other initiatives will place the future AIM in a position to better serve airspace users and ATM in terms of their information management.

The AIS has to transition from a general "paper-based" information sharing environment to a "digital" information sharing platform. The implementation of a CAD for the African continent will incorporate some of the following, as the transition from AIS to AIM becomes a reality: data quality monitoring; data integrity monitoring; integrated aeronautical information database; aeronautical information conceptual model; aeronautical data exchange to name but a few.

The CAD system also contains various internal verifying and quality checking processes to ensure the data is entered in a standard format, and is of the highest quality. Over and above the systems quality checks, ISO standards will also be implemented to ensure at least 98% quality and integrity level of data – that will be contained within the database. Sharing of this information will not be confined to South African systems but will be defined to other aviation subsystems in Africa, using the appropriate exchange model.

The CAD System is a vital asset and is essential for the role of AIS in the evolving world of ATM.

The exhibition is meant to showcase this product to the world and indeed to Africa, with a view of stimulating demand and meeting the very critical aviation technological challenges – the continent is facing.

In this way, Africa will in time be aligned with global technologies and initiatives.