APIRG/26 and RASG/9: relevant decisions and conclusions for improved air navigation safety in the AFI Region

Published: Saturday, 18 November 2023 19:17
 The 26th meeting of the African and Indian Ocean Regional Planning and Implementation Group (APIRG) and the 9th meeting of the Regional Aviation Safety Group for the African and Indian Ocean Region (RASG-AFI) took place November 6 to 10, 2023 at the conference centre in Cotonou, Benin. 
Over two hundred participants from countries in the AFI Region, international organizations and associations (ICAO, CAFAC, IATA, CANSO, AFRAA, IFALPA, ARMA, and FAA), air navigation service providers and airport managers (ASECNA, ATNS, AFPP), regional safety oversight organizations (ASSA-AC, AAMAC, CASSOA) attended these meetings.
In addition to the changes made in the governing bodies of these regional groups, with in particular the election of Mrs Paule Assoumou Koki, Director General of the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, and Mr Fred Bamwesigye, Director General of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, respectively as President of APIRG and President of RASG-AFI, important decisions and conclusions were adopted for the challenges facing the aviation sector in the AFI Region.
Indeed, it was during these meetings that the first editions of certain essential documents were adopted.
The first is the Regional Aviation Safety Plan for the AFI Region (RASP-AFI). The RASP-AFI is aligned with the current Global Aviation Safety Plan and describes the main safety improvement initiatives at the regional level, the roles and responsibilities of States and industry, and provides a framework for cooperation and collaboration to help States manage organisational challenges and operational safety risks. States are urged to develop their National Aviation Safety Plans (NASPs) per the RASP-AFI.

The second document adopted is the AFI Region Annual Air Navigation Report (AANR). This report highlights some significant achievements at regional and national levels in the AFI Region, as well as key regional and inter-regional initiatives aimed at harmonising efforts and sharing best practices in the development and implementation of air navigation plans and projects.
Volume III of the Regional Air Navigation Plan (ANP) was also adopted. This completes the three-volume ANP in line with the ICAO Council requirement that all Regional Planning and Implementation Groups (RPIGs) develop their three-volume ANP.
The decisions and conclusions of the APIRG/26 and RASG/9 meetings also addressed some important operational issues, to improve collaboration and information sharing and avoid significant safety concerns. These include the process of designing and approving instrument flight procedures, monitoring the implementation of Aviation System Block Upgrade Unit (ASBU) elements in the Region, the reciprocal exchange of aeronautical information products, the amendment of ANP Volumes I and II, the implementation of the Modern Aeronautical Fixed Service and aviation accident reporting.
The adoption of the above-mentioned documents, combined with the effective implementation of the other decisions and conclusions of the APIRG/26 and RASG/9 meetings, will undoubtedly make it possible to address aviation safety concerns and raise the level of air navigation safety in the AFI Region. 
It was with this in mind that, at the closing ceremony, the Representative of the Minister for the Environment and Transport in charge of Sustainable Development for the Republic of Benin urged participants to collaborate and cooperate between States, as well as to monitor appropriately and rigorously the implementation of the resolutions resulting from the work of the APIRG/26 and RASG/9 meetings. 
It should be noted that APIRG is mainly responsible for developing and maintaining the AFI air navigation plan and for identifying and eliminating deficiencies in the field of air navigation. It is a mechanism for planning, coordinating and supporting States in the implementation of ICAO standards and recommended practices as well as regional requirements.
As for the Regional Aviation Safety Group for the AFI region (RASG-AFI), its role is to develop and implement a work programme supporting the regional performance framework for safety management based on the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) and the Global Aviation Safety Roadmap (GASR).
Mireille GALABE