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EAC-China Forum on Air Traffic Management concludes in Arusha

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 29 November 2016:

The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko has commended the People’s Republic of China for the extensive support extended to the EAC not only in Civil Aviation sector but also in many other areas critical to the Community’s integration at the bilateral and regional levels.

The Secretary General, in particular, hailed the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and China Electronic Technology Group Corporation (CETC) for organizing and facilitating a three-day EAC-China High Level Forum on Air Traffic Management (ATM), which concluded on 27th November, 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Secretary General, who was represented by the EAC Director for Infrastructure, Mr. Philip Wambugu, disclosed that the EAC is currently the leading Regional Economic Community in matters of Civil Aviation, thanks to the many collaborative projects and programmes supported and implemented by the Partner States.

“Collaboration with China at the regional level has been growing and the Secretariat, on behalf of the Partner States, wishes to acknowledge the great support by the China Civil Aviation Administration during the MA 60 Aircraft Type Certificate Acceptance Procedures and the continued support to Burundi CAA in meeting its Safety and Airworthiness obligations to allow the commencement of MA 60 Operations in the region,” said Amb. Mfumukeko.

“The type, acceptance and certification of the MA 60 aircraft opens the doors for EAC and China to expand their cooperation in the aviation sector through various avenues including technology transfer, purchase/lease and operations of Chinese aircraft and parts among others. This is a critical milestone achieved by both parties and is also in line with the signed EAC-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement,” added the Secretary General.

The Political Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Mr. Yang Tong, underscored the readiness of the People’s Republic of China to support the development of a robust aviation sector in the EAC region. He also pledged to take forward with the Chinese government the implementation of the proposals arising out of the Forum.

The Forum was characterised by various presentations including on the status of the China Civil ATM; a glimpse of EAC Integrated ATM by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC); status of ATM in EAC by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority; and on the Establishment of the EAC Upper Flight Information Region (EAC-UFIR) Project. The main objective of the EAC-UFIR Project is the creation of a single bloc of upper airspace (above flight level 24,500 feet above sea level) to ensure efficient levels of safety and advantages in capacity, efficiency and performance over the present scheme in the Regional Air Navigation services provision.

The EAC-China Forum on ATM was also attended by the Chairpersons of the Partner States’ Civil Aviation Authorities; Representatives of CAAC and CETC; Director Generals of Partner States’ Civil Aviation Authorities; the Executive Director, Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency.

A Joint Statement on the EAC-China Air Traffic Management (ATM) High Level Forum was issued at the end of the Forum (attached).

- ENDS -

Notes to Editor: 

The Xian MA60 ("Modern Ark 60") is a turboprop-powered airliner produced by China's Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The MA60 is a stretched version of the Xian Y7-200A, which was produced based on the An-24 to operate in rugged conditions with limited ground support and has short take-off and landing (STOL) capability.

Article 92 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC provides that the Partner States shall harmonize their policies on Civil Aviation in order to promote the development of safe, reliable, efficient and economically viable civil aviation with a view to developing appropriate infrastructure, aeronautical skills and technology, as well as the role of aviation in support of other economic activities.

In particular, Sub Article (h) provides that the Partner States shall consider ways to develop, maintain and coordinate in common, their navigational, communications and meteorological facilities for the provision of safe air navigation and the joint management of their air space. Pursuant to the implementation of the Treaty and clearly in line with the objectives of the EAC-China ATM Forum, the EAC has prioritized the establishment and operationalization of a Unified Flight Information Region with the objective being the creation of a single block of upper airspace over Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and South Sudan operating eventually from a single area control center. Further an ongoing implementation of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Pilot Study recommendations is aimed at making the region safer for civil aviation operations.

African civil aviation is five times riskier in terms of aviation accidents than the international average. This simply translates to the urgent need to address all those factors that precipitate such accidents and incidences including those related to air navigation and traffic management deficiencies.

It is, therefore, gratifying that China and the EAC are developing cooperation links in these very areas aimed at not only improving air traffic management in the region but also addressing the bedrock of issues that would make the continent a safer aviation market for all. This Forum comes at an opportune time recalling that ICAO recently adopted the Global Air Navigational Plan (GNAP 2013-2028). Pursuant to the ICAO Plan the EAC Partner States are currently investing in the implementation of the Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) to achieve Block 0 requirements by 2018.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at]


About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.


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