Northern corridor states agree to expedite bilateral airspace agreements

States along the northern corridor block have finally agreed to expedite the process of preparing and signing the Bilateral Airspace Service Agreements (BASA) to facilitate harmonisation of air space within the region.
Experts say Integrating the regional airspace could spur economic growth. (T. Kisambira)
Experts say Integrating the regional airspace could spur economic growth. (T. Kisambira)

States along the northern corridor block have finally agreed to expedite the process of preparing and signing the Bilateral Airspace Service Agreements (BASA) to facilitate harmonisation of air space within the region.

The initiative is also expected to reduce the cost of doing business within the region.

According to Northern corridor civil aviation technical committee, these agreements must be ready and signed by mid June 2015. The technical committee which met last week in Kigali recommended that partner states along the northern corridor block should adopt a dispute resolution and arbitration mechanism that will help resolve any emerging issues that may arise from the competitive aviation industry.

They will also have to benchmark the international civil aviation organisation and guidance material on remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).

And these initiatives according to Northern corridor civil aviation technical committee, will help fast track the harmonisation of the region’s airspace and consequently reduce the cost of doing business.

“Both Rwanda and Kenya will meet by the end of this month to finalise on this particular issue.”
Rwanda has also accepted to host a technical meeting which will help develop regulations on the remotely piloted aircrafts systems, he added.

According to the technical committee, Uganda and partner states will now have to come up with a proper model of financing to help accelerate the process.

“They will also have to review the budgetary considerations and activities of the seamless Northern corridor airspace block so they can reflect the current status,” Makuza said.

Implementation status on BASA

According to RCAA, Rwanda is ready to sign the agreement with South Sudan despite a delay on cabinet ratification by the government of South Sudan.

The same goes for Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda which is awaiting clearance from the solicitor general’s office.

Last month, civil aviation experts from the northern corridor agreed to a concrete legal frame work that will help fully liberalise airspace among partner states.

They are now to work out a road map on how implementation of this ground breaking plan shall be conducted and the required budget.

They are expected to meet in June for yet another meeting on harmonisation of aircraft accident investigations.

Last year, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan signed an agreement establishing a legal framework paving way for negotiations that will see local airlines attain fifth freedom along Juba-Nairobi, Nairobi-Juba routes.

And the experts expect to discuss the modalities of the whole frame work when they meet once again in June, Tony Barigye, the RCAA, communications manager said.

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