Support to the air transport sector and satellite service applications

Programme background

Aviation in Africa

EGNOS stands for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. It is the European Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) that is used to improve the performance of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs), such as GPS and Galileo.

The extension of the EGNOS system to Africa is within the framework of the EU-Africa Common Strategy (2005) and the Joint EU-Africa Partnership (2007), both adopted by Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe. Through the ACP/EC framework, the “Support to the Air Transport and Satellite services applications in Africa” programme was launched to support the improvement of aviation safety and efficiency of air navigation in Africa and also to support SBAS applications in maritime and other non-aviation sectors like rail, road transport, agriculture, mining, mapping etc.

The aviation sector has been identified as an enabler for the implementation of SBAS in Africa. Enhancing safety within this sector is a continental priority emphasised with the adoption in 2012 of the Abuja Safety Targets by the Ministers in charge of Transport of the African Union. SBAS appears as one of the means for the African Union Member States to reach the objective of reducing Control Flight into Terrain (CFIT). At the same time African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 flagship projects include priority projects such as the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), and Seamless Sky, for which the satellite navigation infrastructure solution is expected to act as an enabler.

The development of GNSS activities in the Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) region is also supported by efforts on the part of several countries to align with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) vision on GNSS and its requirements on Performance Based Navigation (PBN). SBAS in particular is among the solutions recommended in the AFI GNSS strategy to reach the objective under Aviation Systems Block Upgrades (ASBU) Block 0.  

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) Roadmap 2014-2017 included the Africa and EU commitment to “provide resources for the deployment and operation of GNSS/EGNOS in Africa.” This commitment facilitated the implementation of two major projects; The ‘Training on EGNOS-GNSS in Africa’ (TREGA) project and the ‘Satellite navigation services for AFrIcan Region’ (SAFIR) project. The TREGA project was aimed at building capacity in the fields of space programme management, GNSS and SBAS/EGNOS technology, among others. The SAFIR project involved the set-up, staffing and operation of an EGNOS-Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), the set-up and support for eight GNSS/EGNOS Working Sessions involving African stakeholders and finally the development of the SBAS services implementation Roadmap.