Wednesday January 5, 2022
Mogadishu, Somalia (HOL) - The UN aviation regulator body ICAO has asked Somalia to postpone its plan of going ahead with an upgrade of its airspace noting the country had not met international standards mandatory for such transition.
In a letter dated December 16, 2021, exclusively seen by HOL, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) raised questions on Somalia’s ability to implement an upgrade of its airspace from Class G to A by January 27, 2022. Class G is the lowest in ICAO airspace categorisation where flights are only provided with flight information services.
“We have come to an agreement that there are serious concerns in the transition plan that if not addressed will create an extremely unsafe situation at the implementation date of 27 Jan 2022,” ICAO Eastern African Regional Office told Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA).
The transition from Class G to A involves moving from the provision of Flight Information Service to Air Traffic Control Service for communication between pilots and airports. With Class A airspace, all flights receive ATC services.
In objecting to the transition, ICAO said Somalia did not have qualified staff to provide ATC service and that there was only one on-the-job trainer who was expected to train other personnel and at the same time operate full time as an ATC operator.
The UN body also questioned the availability of the requisite infrastructure necessary to allow for the role out of the ATC service within Somali airspace.
“With the limited capacity of qualified personnel to provide the ATCS in the enroute sector, it is recommended that full implementation of the provision of ATCS within the sector concerned be deferred until such a time that you have built capacity through the approved training processes,” ICAO said.
ICAO also urged SCAA to develop a clear transition plan with milestones and how they will be achieved before moving to the next step.