The International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations (IFATSEA) is pushing for the licensing of Air traffic Safety Electronics personnel on the continent.
This is to encourage and maintain high passenger safety in Africa and across the globe.
Air Traffic Safety Electronic Personnel (ATSEP) refers to engineers, technicians, and computer hardware and software specialists who provide and support the electronics and the software used to operate and enhance air traffic safety systems. These include communications, navigation and surveillance and air traffic management systems.
Despite their role in air transport safety, there is currently no provision under the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO’s Annex 1 for the licensing of Air Traffic Safety Electronic Personnel.
However, there are provisions for the competency of such persons in the form of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) published in ICAO Annex 10 and guidance material in ICAO Doc 7192 - AN/857 Part E2 - Training Manual for Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP).
In Ghana, however, some progress has been made in licensing Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel. This is defined under the Ghana Civil Aviation Amendment Act, 2016, ACT 906 which makes requirements for the licensing and rating of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP)
Speaking at the 39th General Assembly of the Association, the Director for the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations Engineer Frank Apeagyei advocated a more formal recognition of the role of its members globally.
He said “Ghana alone having its licensing is not enough because when you are able to keep your enviable safety standards it may not be the same elsewhere so we need all the African countries and even across the world to be able to operate with a licence”
According to Mr Apeagyei this brings about a sense of responsibility which means personnel will work to attain the highest safety standards in order not to lose their licenses.
He further revealed that Ghana was working to present a working paper to the International Civil Aviation Organization to have the licensing of Air Traffic Safety Electronic Personnel recognized.
“In 2016 Ghana presented a working paper to ICAO to consider having the licensing recognized in the ICAO annex 1 but it wasn’t successful but we are still making the effort to ensure that ICAO comes to reason with the issue of the Air Traffic Safety Electronic Personnel Licensing,” he said.
The 39th assembly of the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations brought together professionals and stakeholders in the aviation sector to deliberate the role of Air Traffic Safety Electronic Personnel as a key component of air transport safety.
Director General for the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority Engineer Simon Allotey outlined some initiatives to improve the competency of Air Traffic Safety Electronic Personnel.
Mr Allotey noted “we hire and continue to train young, talented engineers abroad and at our training academy which is an Associate Member of ICAO’S Train air Plus Programme. We facilitated the licensing of ATSEPs, 17 of whom have successfully gone through the process, with several others pursuing this at an advanced stage.”
He also expresses Ghana’s commitment to enhancing Air Traffic Management with the development of the National Plan for Aviation System Block Upgrades in line with ICAO’s Global Air navigation Plan.
A statement presented on behalf of the Vice President by the Minister for Environment Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng reiterated governments commitment to investing in modern aviation infrastructure to maintain high safety standards at the Airport.
Other stakeholders at the event including the President of the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics called for investment into technology and training of personnel to maintain safety in the skies.
The theme for the 49th IFATSEA General Assembly is ‘ASTEP contribution to Global Aviation: Assuring Safety, Delivering Air Traffic Management/ Communication, navigation and surveillance Critical Infrastructure Performance.’