By NKOLE CHITALA-MULAMBIA
VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scot says Zambia’s aviation ban from the European Union (EU) will soon be lifted following significant progress made to resolve safety concerns.
And Dr Scott says the upgrade and expansion of the four international airports at a total cost of over US$$900 million demonstrates Government’s unwavering commitment to making the country a regional hub.
Dr Scott said Government in collaboration with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and with technical assistance from cooperating partners has resolved most of the audit findings and safety concerns.
In a speech read for him by Secretary to Cabinet Roland Msiska during an extraordinary meeting of the Africa Indian Ocean (AFI) planning and implementation regional group (APIRG/EO) in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Scott said Zambia has further engaged the EU for removal from the ban list.
After the ICAO audit of 2009 of Zambia’s civil aviation, 98 findings, including a significant safety concern (SSC), were recorded.
Dr Scott said Government has embarked on rigorous crusade of transforming the transport sector which is a key driver to the economic development of the country.
“In order to set the pace and continue with the development of the aviation systems and infrastructure, Zambia has in place a programme of reforming and upgrading the legal and institutional arrangements of the civil aviation safety oversight system,” he said.
Dr Scott said apart from transforming the department of civil aviation into an autonomous civil authority, Government has also embarked on the total review of the aviation legal framework to ensure that a strong and functional safety oversight system is in place to enable the aviation sub sector to grow in a structured and harmonised manner.
He said Zambia has an ambitious programme of revamping the air navigation services countrywide.
Some of the projects include implementation of surveillance radar facilities at the Kenneth Kaunda and Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International airports at a cost of 14 million Euros.
Other projects include installation of state of the art aeronautical message handling system and aeronautical information management system, the replacement of communication radios and equipment, and supply and installation of automated weather stations at the four international airports in order to meet the ICAO standards.
He also said plans to revive the national airline have reached an advanced stage.
Speaking earlier, ICAO regional director, Meshesha Belayneh said the organisation will hold the first global aviation symposium in September to provide a platform to stakeholders and discuss various industry practices and challenges.
The two-day meeting being held in Lusaka is aimed at reviewing working methods and organisation of the regional grouping.
The meeting is expected to draft recommendations that will ensure that the planning and implementation of new aviation procedures, systems and requirements are done in a timely and coordinated manner.
Zambia Daily Mail