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Air Navigation: Hope Rises For AIM Implementation

Anthony Awunor

The chances of Nigeria transiting from Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) to Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) are becoming brighter following a recent deal signed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Eurocontrol. The agreement signed recently was brokered to support African States, that are part of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) AFI region and their Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in improving AIS, including transition from AIS to AIM. Nigeria is one of the African States, that are part of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) AFI region.

The country is still operating AIS, a service established within the defined area of coverage responsible for the provision of aeronautical data and aeronautical information necessary for the safety, regularity and efficiency of air navigation. This is an alternative to the more sophisticated AIM, a dynamic, integrated management of aeronautical information through the provision and exchange of quality-assured digital aeronautical data in collaboration with all parties.

With the understanding, Eurocontrol will assist IATA, apex global aviation regulatory body in its endeavor to improve the provision, consistency, completeness and distribution of aeronautical data in certain states of the ICAO AFI Region. This, IATA said will be done in particular through a series of workshops that will take place at the AIS premises of the various States. Signing the Agreement with IATA in Strasbourg, Director General of Eurocontrol Frank Brenner, said “Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation is delighted to be working closely with IATA to support the development of aeronautical information services across the African region – supporting safety and of course efficiency in our neighboring region brings benefits to everyone.”

Commenting on the new partnership, IATA’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler said “Safety is our number one priority, and the need for greater safety in African aviation is particularly acute. The provision of improved AIS will help raise safety levels, as well as have spin-off benefits for noise and route efficiency. IATA is pleased to partner with Eurocontrol for the delivery of better AIS, and we look forward to seeing carriers across Africa benefit from this very soon,” Quality and timelines of Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) have been   identified by IATA member airlines in Africa as important issues to address to improve safety across the continent.

Following the ICAO Safety Symposium held in Dakar in May 2014, Eurocontrol committed to assist IATA in their endeavors for African States to improve their capability for provision of AIS/AIM. A coordination program was established with the objective of providing AIS/AIM refresher training including identification of areas requiring improvements for which mitigation measures for the short, medium and long terms will be defined, and implemented. Eurocontrol has extensive experience in AIS/AIM, in particular due to the EAD service (European AIS Database) which the agency has been running for more than 12 years. EAD processes world-wide information according to ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.

Eurocontrol’s data procedures – both static and dynamic – were considered by IATA as a key element and the most appropriate approach to support the resolution of aeronautical data issues in the ICAO AFI Region that are affecting the delivery of ATM services. Speaking during the World AIS Day last year, the President of Aeronautical Information Service (AISAN), Shittu Babatunde had pointed out that transition from AIS to Aim is rigorous.

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