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New air traffic control system up and running soon: TCAA

Monday November 23 2020
TCAA pic

TCAA acting director general Vallery Chamlungu

By Alfred Zacharia

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) said it had finalized the installation of a new system for controlling and managing air traffic. This is in a bid to make the country’s air transport and travel safer and more competitive.

TCAA acting director general Vallery Chamlungu said the computerised system - known as - is expected to start operating in December this year.

According to him, the system utilises a distributed computing architecture, and is capable of integrating geographically-dispersed air traffic control units within a flight information region - like controlling towers at different airports and control centers - into a single coherent system.

It also handles a large variety of different functions required for the smooth operation of air traffic control and management, such as surveillance data processing and track correlation, flight plan processing, communication and data recording.

“TCAA has finalised the installation of four radar systems and the automation system, TopSky,” he said during an annual general meeting of Tanzania Air Traffic Controllers Association (Tatca) at the weekend.

“A total of ten air traffic control units will start using the systems in full package including shifting from using paper strips to electronic strips,” he said.

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Other systems that have been improved recently are the Very High Frequency (VHF) communication systems at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam, and installation of Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar. VHF communication systems are widely-used for maintaining contact between ground and aircraft operators.

The president of Tatca, Shukuru Nziku, said establishment of the association was a wise decision as it manages air traffic controller units for promoting safety, efficiency and regularity in air navigation internationally as well as nationally and assisting and advising the development of a safe and orderly system of air traffic control. “We are experiencing the challenges in some parts of our airspace being not covered by VHF communication (especially the lower airspace) and limited training for air traffic controllers due to shortage of funds caused by Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Nziku said.

However, he assured the AGM that Tatca will continue playing its part to ensure that Tanzanian airspace is safe - and also maintain competency and professionalism.

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