Zimbabwe’s air traffic controllers fear that country’s airspace could be blacklisted

By Wallace Mawire

The Air Traffic Controllers Association of Zimbabwe (ATCAZ) has called for the modernisation of air navigation (air traffic control) infrastructure in a submission to the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development public hearing on the civil aviation amendment bill 2017.


The purpose of the bill is to amend the civil aviation act No. 7 of 1998.According to Evans Makuku, President of the Air Traffic Controllers Association of Zimbabwe (ATCAZ) the association says that it notes that a lot of effort is being put into administrative issues at the expense of operational needs, particularly the radio communication and
surveillance systems.

Makuku said that the association has been calling for the modernisation of air navigation (air traffic control) infrastructure for several years.

“The ground to ground and ground to air radio communication systems is in shambles while the surveillance system which was installed in 1991 has become obsolete. Air traffic control is inundated by reports of poor radio
reception/transmission from pilots on a daily basis,” Makuku said .

Makuku said that it is so frustrating and tiresome to repeat one transmission several times trying to understand each other. ATCAZ said that if the issue is not attended to as a matter of urgency there is real risk of Zimbabwe’s airspace being blacklisted.

The association added that Zimbabwe has now become an island in terms of surveillance in the Southern Africa region. They added that all of Zimbabwe’s neighbours now have surveillance. ATCAZ says that South Africa, Botswana and Zambia all have radar while Mozambique is moving ahead installing Automatic Dependency
Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B).

“We now lag far behind although we were the leaders and ahead of the pack in the 90’s. We do not need piece meal legislation. The aviation bill should be fully amended to satisfy all the ICAO recommendations while the modernisation of air navigation infrastructure takes place,” Makuku said.

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