After the completion of the Karisimbi Mast Project, Rwanda will have full controlling rights of her airspace. According to a stunning revelation to Parliament on Monday, the Minister in charge of Science and Technology, in the Office of the President, Prof. Romain Murenzi, revealed that the country’s upper arial space is currently being controlled from Tanzania.
Murenzi’s revelation came as a response to the MPs questions on the progress of the Karisimbi Project. The Project is aimed at providing high quality communication navigation surveillance, telecommunications, and radio and television signals.
“Our upper airspace was allocated to Tanzania by the colonialists,” said Murenzi.
“Currently we are working hard to ensure that we use the Karisimbi mast to manage our own upper airspace.”
The Karisimbi Mast is projected to provide upper and lower air space control for a radius of 300 nautical miles of Rwanda.
Rwanda controls its lower airspace through the Rebero terminal radar that manages all flights landing and taking off from Rwanda.
“I have established a technical team and we are working with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Rwanda Development Board to ensure that we get the airspace management part of the mast done,” Murenzi said.
He pointed out that; “if another country manages your airspace, you face the risk of losing some resources since every flight that passes in the airspace of a certain country pays some money.”
He however told lawmakers that the Karisimbi project has several sectors including the expansion of radio and television coverage that are at a final stage.
Rwanda entered an agreement with Harris Communications to develop a detailed plan aimed at increasing national broadcast coverage for television and radio based around Mount Jali, Karisimbi and other transmitter sites.
When contacted for clarification, the Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, Richard Masozera told The New Times that the control of the upper airspace is allocated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“The airspace of Rwanda and Burundi was allocated to Tanzania because our airspace is small. The reason to this is for the convenience of the pilot not to talk to many controllers in a very small time interval,” added Masozera. He emphasized that Rwanda will still consider the convenience of the pilots when it starts controlling its space.
He said; “what is important here is the security of the pilots; this is why we are investing heavily in the safety facilities especially in navigation equipment and air traffic control facilities.”
Masozera said that the upper airspace that is currently controlled by Tanzania ranges from 24, 000 feet above sea level while Rwanda controls the lower airspace that is below 24,000 feet.