Air traffic control Bill changes “permissions”

OR tamboBill  penalises false air traffic data…..

The department of transport (DoT) has published the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company Amendment Draft Bill, calling at the same time for public comment.

Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) is the company responsible to the minister of transport as a profit-making government venture which has the mandate to control the management of South Africa’s airspace, air traffic control and organise the management systems necessary to operate such national facilities.

The Bill in question seeks to amend the Air Traffic and M-Navigation Services Company Act so as to “insert new definitions; substitute certain expressions; provide for appeals against the decision of the Committee; and provide for offences.”

Airport facility definitions changed

It is understood that income to run ATNS primarily comes from “permissions” or pre-agreed rates for aircraft to descend and land; use runways; airport facilities aside from charges levied by ACSA; park aircraft; take off; what height to fly and to accept flight plans for data dissemination.

The main subject re-defined by the Bill is the wording of the expression “permissions” i.e. at what rate these are charged, which mainly depend on frequency of use, size of fleet, routes chosen and the amount of input from air traffic control staff needed.

The Bill also deals with penalties that may be imposed, it being an offence to supply false information on intended flight routes, lodge false flight plans and supply any false information which may affect the flow of data needed to control airspace and aircraft movements.

Permission to land

How appeals against rulings on the cost and application of “permissions” is also dealt with. The Bill also seeks to give legal status to an application for a “permission” called an “approach document”, in which ATNS provides guidelines on the information needed from operators when a “permission” is sought.

SA world class

DoT reported to Parliament in its annual budget statement that the budget appropriation for ATNS and its operating profit, though not excessive, had resulted in the use of “state-of-the-art equipment and world-class technology being used and a principle of mid-life updating of the air traffic management system to meet the highest of international standards being applied.”

DoT also reported that VHF radio systems with the latest voice and data capabilities and the installation of the high quality VHF directional finders had been acquired.

The department claimed that ATNS was well known for efficiently managing South Africa’s airspace and had successfully, throughout the years, maintained a record of a zero commercial aircraft accident rate.
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