Kampala hosts a regional meeting on GNSS/SBAS implementation in eastern Africa
On the 17th to 20th April 2018, a regional meeting aimed at reviewing and validating first the “EGNOS SBAS deployment Preliminary Programme Proposal” developed by JPO for EAC and IGAD member states and secondly the outcomes of the SBAS Economic Impact Assessment studies done for the same RECs was held at the Sheraton Kampala, Uganda.
Jointly organised by JPO, COMESA, EAC and IGAD, the meeting was officially opened by Hon. Bagiire Aggrey, the Minister of State of Work and Transport of Uganda. During his opening remarks, he noted that SBAS has been adopted in the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan as a tool to improve air transport safety and reminded the participants about the different benefits it brings in terms of capacity improvement and regional connectivity enhancement, all gained with low levels of investment in its infrastructure which also reduces the capital and operational expenditure related to tradition navigation aids currently deployed by air navigation service providers in the region. Additional opening remarks were provided by the representatives from EAC, IGAD and COMESA secretariats.
During the 4 days of the meeting, the participants reviewed the outcomes of the preliminary studies undertaken by the JPO in the framework of its working arrangements with EAC, IGAD and COMESA, with the objective of ascertaining the technical feasibility, economic benefits and the institutional, legal and financial implications of the creation of a regional module composed of the three RECs in view of implementing a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for the use of aviation and other applications. A number of discussions resulted from the review process which identified some key points and findings elaborated in the Preliminary Programme Proposal, SBAS Economic Impact Assessment studies and the proposed roadmap. Among important recommendations taken during this Workshop was the need for JPO and RECs to expedite the implementation of a GNSS monitoring network and trial missions to assess the technical viability of the GNSS/SBAS system in the region; and the organisation of two validation meetings focused on the non-aviation (organised in Dakar) and aviation (organised in Nairobi) sectors.
The neeting also called for a presentation of the roadmap for the implementation of SBAS in Eastern Africa at the next Tripartite (EAC, COMESA and SADC) infrastructure meeting, scheduled for Q4, 2018 to which IGAD will be invited. Most important was also the consideration of the meeting decision to consider the expert participants as the regional Taskforce which will oversee the development of the Eastern African GNSS/SBAS Module for which Terms of Reference and working procedures shall be defined during the Tripartite Meeting.
Finally, the meeting agreed that Uganda, on behalf of EAC, COMESA and IGAD member states, would prepare a detailed working paper to be introduced at the coming AFCAC preparatory meeting to the ICAO 13th AIR Navigation Conference.
Dr. David MPANGO KAKUBA, Managing Director Civil Aviation Authority-Uganda officiated the closing ceremony and specifically thanked JPO for organising this important meeting and specifically choosing Uganda as the host country.