A new bill governing the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) seeks to allow it to ensure civil aviation training and innovation in aviation, and to regulate and oversee relevant training organisations, according to the Minister of Infrastructure, Jimmy Gasore. The relevance of the draft law amending the law of 2019 establishing RCAA was approved by the plenary sitting of the lower chamber of Parliament, on October 12. The current law was solely giving RCAA a regulatory and oversight mandate (for civil aviation) after the responsibilities of providing air navigation services as well as airport management and operations were transferred to Rwanda Airports Company. ALSO READ: Rwanda gets first US aviation safety assessment Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority is mandated to regulate and ensure oversight of aviation safety, security, economic regulation of air services, and development of Civil Aviation as guided by the provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation Organization's Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). Training civil aviation professionals While justifying the relevance of the new draft law to parliamentarians, Gasore said it was realised that responsibilities of RCAA to ensure civil aviation training and innovation in aviation were missing in the existing law. In addition, the law did not provide for the responsibility of RCAA to regulate and oversee civil aviation training organisations, such as Akagera Aviation which is an entity responsible for training pilots and offering other services related to air passenger transport. ALSO READ: Rwanda set to benefit from liberalised air transport market According to an explanatory note of the bill, locally offered aviation training will facilitate a quick transfer of skills to an increased number of participants, as well as save on travel and training costs that were incurred when they were provided abroad. “Because of the advancements in the aviation industry and related infrastructure, continuous training is needed for its personnel either locally or in the region where Rwanda is situated, to have adequate knowledge in terms of international standards governing civil aviation,” he said. “The benefits Rwanda will get from the training offered within the country include that they will reach many people without the need to travel abroad [for training], and to reduce the cost that was incurred on training that was offered abroad as it was expensive when you factor in air flight charges, accommodation, and living allowances for the trainees,” he pointed out. For RCAA to provide such training, the explanatory note of the bill stated that it has to be accredited as an Approved Training Organization (ATO) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and its accreditation needs legal support, thus the need for the law amendment. Gasore said that having RCAA provided with the functions of training will reduce the cost of human capital development in civil aviation in Rwanda, and attract regional and other foreign students. He explained that the reason RCAA has to offer training is to meet international standards governing civil aviation and ensure that all the people are complying with such standards. On lawmakers’ query about how RCAA will work with Akagera Aviation, Gasore said RCAA will be training regulators to inspect the entire civil aviation sector, while Akagera Aviation trains aircraft pilots. This, he said, means that those who will be trained by RCAA will be regulators who control Akagera Aviation. New responsibility to RCAA DG In addition, the bill is assigning a new responsibility to the Director General of RCAA which is “to determine the separation of functions for the unit in charge of civil aviation safety inspectorate, and the unit in charge of training and innovation, from any other entity providing a civil aviation service under agency. Fixing a term of RCAA Board of Directors Another modification made is the term of the office for the Board of Directors which was not catered for in the present RCAA law. The bill proposes that members of its Board of Directors serve a term of office of five years renewable once.