Africa has inched closer to achieving a broad Upper Area FIR following the move by 19 regional states to adopt an airspace agreement at the end of May.
Ministers of Justice and the Attorney Generals from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) adopted the legal instrument on common airspace in Lusaka.
The regional airspace agreement aims at achieving a seamless upper airspace for the region which will lead to enhanced competition in air travel and efficiency.
Zambia Minister of Justice, Hon. Given Lubinda, who opened the May meeting said the COMESA seamless airspace programme will contribute to bringing down high costs.
“The draft legal instruments aimed at the implementation of the COMESA Seamless Airspace programme speak to this.”
From 20JUL, the Hajj routes for 2017 will take effect.
What are Hajj routes? Every year, millions of pilgrims travel to Mecca and other sites in Saudi Arabia – and this changes the predominant traffic flow over the African continent. ATC in the FIR’s most affected put in place standard routings to help flow that traffic.
Normally, traffic is very much north-south predominant, with Europe-Africa flights being the main flow. When Hajj operations start up, a good amount of traffic starts operating east-west (ie. Africa-Saudi Arabia an vv), and this is something to be aware of when cruising along at FL330 with spotty HF comms.
So, in addition to the normal IFBP belt and braces on 126.9, keep an eye out for a much higher amount of crossing traffic during the coming months.
The FIR’s affected are: Algiers, Accra, Brazzaville, Dakar, Kano, Khartoum, N’Djamena, Niamey, Roberts, and Tripoli.
The Hajj routings are contained in this ASECNA AIP Supplement.