Government of Rwanda Regains Control of Upper Airspace After 30 Years
Rwanda will now have full control over her upper aerial space, after more than three decades in the hands of the government of Tanzania.
A handover deed was signed last week by both governments after Rwanda notified of her intention to withdraw and directly discharge her responsibility of providing air traffic services in her upper airspace.
Silas Udahemuka, Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) and Tanzanian counterpart Hamza Johari, alongside Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure Fidèle Abimana as well as Barry Kashambo, Regional Director of ICAO Eastern and Southern African (ESAF), presided over the signing ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda.
According to RCAA, the country’s upper airspace was delegated to Tanzania in the 1970s for provision of air traffic services.
However, officials said, to be able to regain her airspace, Rwanda fronted different reasons including improving safety in Kigali Flight Information Region (FIR) as well as meeting regulatory requirements such as Search and Rescue (SAR) obligations.
And following several coordination meetings led by The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Rwanda was permitted to continue with the process to take over the airspace.
ICAO ordinarily gives the control of the upper airspace.
According to Serge Tuyihimbaze, an aviation expert based in Kigali, countries delegate provision of air traffic service for either technical, operational, safety or efficiency considerations.
Tuyihimbaze, who is also the Managing Director at Leapr Labs-a local drones company, argues that the opportunity in delineation of airspace lying across national boundaries could be targeting the proposed value alongside the previous aspects.
“But the opportunity cost in my opinion is around any barriers that may result in delegation of state sovereignty over airspace for provision of air traffic services,” he said.