ASECNA, NIGCOMSAT, Thales Alenia to boost development of African aviation

The Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar, Nigerian Communications and Satellite Limited and Thales Alenia Space have concluded plans to accelerate the Satellite-Based Augmentation System development in the African aviation sector.

According to a statement signed by the three organisations on Monday, the partners have successfully conducted series of five flight demos at Lome international airport last month.

The statement reads in part, “The goal was to show in real configuration the efficiency of the technology developed in the frame of the early open service as part of the SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean programme, which pursues the autonomous provision over the continent of SBAS services, to augment the performances of the satellite navigation constellations GPS and Galileo.”

The tests, Financial Street gathered, were carried out with ASECNA’s calibration aircraft, which has been equipped for the occasion by Pildo Labs with specific sensors that were tested in five rotations over Lome airport.

“The aim of the experiment was to demonstrate the ability of the system to allow landings on the two ends of the runway without deployment of local ground infrastructure and with a performance level close to the use of Instrument Landing Systems. It demonstrates the benefits of the future operational safety-of-life SBAS services, expected from 2024, in terms of flight safety, efficiency and of environmental protection.

“The outcomes of the demonstrations, as a crucial step towards the provision and use of satellite navigation services in Africa and the Indian Ocean regions, were debriefed on January 28 and 29 during an international outreach on SBAS in aviation in Africa, gathering airlines, aircraft manufacturers and other aviation stakeholders from all over the world,” the statement added.

Speaking during the event, the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT-1R, Dr. Abimbola Alale, said the company was proud to support the SBAS for Africa and Indian ocean open service.

He added, “The SBAS demonstration flight feat is in line with policy direction of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Isa Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM for value addition and propensity not only in the telecommunications sector, but aviation, maritime, rail transport, precision agriculture, survey, oil and gas as well as mass market applications for sustainable development beyond Nigerian shores.”

On his part, the Vice President of Navigation Business at Thales Alenia Space, Benoit, said, “Our longstanding expertise acquired with the development of EGNOS SBAS in Europe and KASS SBAS in Korea, combined with our new leading-edge satellite positioning technologies, makes Thales Alenia Space the ideal partner to best support countries to implement their own SBAS efficiently. We hope these series of demos will help to accelerate SBAS adoption in aviation in Africa.”

Meanwhile, the Director General of ASECNA, Mohammad Moussa, said, “I am proud to have demonstrated the utility and efficiency of the SBAS services in the continent. This event will bolster the deployment of the ‘SBAS for Africa & Indian Ocean’ system, the navigation solution for Africa by Africa, which will enhance air navigation safety and efficiency for the benefit of the whole continent, in line with my vision for the unification of the African Sky.”

Anozie Egole
Anozie Egole
Anozie Egole is a Transport correspondent. He reports Maritime, Aviation and Rail/Road Transport for Financial Street.

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