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Will ASECNA meet the needs of african air navigation for the 21st century? an analysis of asecna strategy for adopting CNS/ATM

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par Francis NTONGO
Cranfield college of aeronautics - MSc Air Transport Management 2005

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Department of Air
Transport Management

Will ASECNA meet the needs of African

air navigation for the 21st century?

An analysis of ASECNA strategy for adopting advanced CNS/ATM


Academic year 2004-2005 Francis Fabien Ntongo Ekani Supervisor: Rodney Fewings



Academic year 2004 - 2005

Will ASECNA meet the needs of African
air navigation for the 21st century?

An analysis of ASECNA strategy for adopting advanced CNS/ATM

By Francis Ntongo
Supervisor: Rodney Fewings

This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science

To My Parents


This MSc thesis aims at investigating the rationale of implementing CNS/ATM1 systems in ASECNA area, a region of the African continent. The question of whether ASECNA's modernisation strategy will respond to African air navigation's future needs is essential to the region, as a performing system is a prerequisite for the viability of air transport activities.

The study analyses the situation of service provision in the region and highlights the needs and the priorities. It also assesses the suitability of future air navigation systems, their ability to respond to these needs, and it provides an analysis of ASECNA's strategy.

The region is characterised by an insignificant level of traffic at a global scale. Local air transport industry needs help to reduce its costs, as the majority of carriers are struggling to survive in a context of combined low demand, and very high fuel prices. There are a high number of air navigation incidents relatively to the level of traffic. That is due to an inefficient system based essentially on conventional navigation systems, which are very often unreliable and underperforming. The research reveals the predominance of Safety, Efficiency and airspace Fragmentation as the primary performance drivers for evolving the system. ASECNA is responding to its users' needs by implementing future air navigation systems. CNS/ATM trials suggest that the technology can respond to regional priorities as they bring greater efficiency, increased capacity and safety, and enhanced cross border cooperation and cost effectiveness. They are also suitable for inhospitable areas like in ASECNA.

Local airlines have limited means to upgrade their old fleets. Foreign carriers operate high yield routes and generate 80 per cent of ASECNA's revenues and operate young well equipped aircraft. Therefore, the agency has developed a dual strategy, by maintaining ground-based systems for small local carriers on domestic routes, while introducing CNS/ATM systems on main areas of routing.

ASECNA will make the new systems available to its users, but it will not necessarily be cost effective. However, the success of the implementation process also depends on the ability of member states to upgrade and harmonise their legislations on time. The slowness of legislative procedures and the lack of harmonisation in Africa will delay the benefits, which is damaging to the industry.

1 Air Traffic Management supported by three components: Control, Navigation and Surveillance


I'd like to thank Rodney, my supervisor, for his constant support, his wise and constructive critics and all the advices he gave me and that contributed to the success of this thesis. Andy Foster and Simon Place also gave me a decisive support.

I'll also like to thank Professor Fariba Alamdari, the Head of Air Transport Group, for having made me to understand what management is about: Always being Positive and getting the best from People.

Special thank to ASECNA for their precious and invaluable support throughout the project, and for welcoming me during one week at their Head Quarter in Dakar, Senegal:

Youssouf Mahamat, Director General Amadou Guitteye, Director of Operations Wodiaba Samake, Head of training office


Marafa Sadou, Special adviser to the director of operations Diallo amadou Yoro, Head of Normalization office

Hilaire Tchicaya, Head of Aeronautical Telecommunication office

Ngoue Celestin, Head of Air Navigation

Sacramento Martin, Engineer, office of Statistics

Edmond Hocke Nguema-Biteghe, Head of Network Operations

Armand Boukono, Engineer, Normalization office Ndobian Kitagoto, Engineer, Meteorology office

Aviation companies

Air Benin, Air France KLM

Air Inter Cameroon

Air Madgascar

Air Senegal international

Bellview Airlines, Cameroon Airlines

Aéroport Du Cameroun (ADC) Etablissement National de la Navigation Aérienne (ENNA, Algeria)

Table of content

Abstract i

Acknowledgement ii

Table of Content iii

List of figures v

List of tables viii

Glossary ix

Chapter 1 Introduction to thesis page 1

1.1 Background 1

1.2 Research questions 3

1.3 Objectives 4

1.4 Methodology 4

1.5 Structure of thesis 7

1.6 Data sources 7

1.7 Key assumption 7

1.8 Choice of performance measures 8

1.9 Summary 9

Chapter 2 ASECNA's region Air Transport Industry 10

2.1 Economic characteristics 11

2.2 Transport infrastructure 13

2.2.1 Roads 13

2.2.2 Railways 13

2.2.3 Ports 14

2.3 Air Transport Industry 14

2.3.1 Airport Infrastructure 15

2.3.2 Airlines 16

2.3.3 Fleet 17

2.4 Regulatory 25

2.5 Air Travel Demand 26

2.6 Conclusion 32

Chapter 3 Air navigation Performance Review 34

3.1 Introduction 34

3.2 Airspace organization 34

3.2.1 Description of ASECNA's strategy 34

3.2.2 Fragmentation 36

3.3 Traffic 38

3.3.1 Airport activity 38

3.3.2 En-route traffic 40

3.4 Delays 44

3.5 Impact of future trends 44

3.5.1 Prospects 44

3.5.2 Impact on runway capacity 45

3.5.3 Impact on en-route capacity 46

3.6 Traffic complexity 47

3.7 Safety 48

3.7.1 Air Proximities 48

3.7.2 Users' claims 49

3.7.3 Birdstrikes 49

3.7.4 Safety Review System 50

3.8 Efficiency 50

3.8.1 Flight efficiency 50

3.8.2 Fuel efficiency 51

3.9 Cost effectiveness 54

3.9.1 Navigation charges 54

3.9.2 Air Navigation Costs 55

3.10 Cooperation 57

3.11 Training 59

3.12 Financing 59

3.13 CNS and Aviation weather management issues 60

3.13.1 Shortcomings of conventional systems 60

3.13.2 ASECNA's systems' performance 64

3.15 Conclusion 69

Chapter 4 CNS/ATM systems and concepts 70

4.1 Introduction 70

4.2 Suitable CNS/ATM systems for ASECNA 72

4.2.1 Geographic characteristics 72

4.2.2 Efficiency 72

4.2.3 Capacity for Safety 73

4.2.4 Surveillance 73

4.3 Study of selected systems 73

4.3.1 Communications 73

4.3.2 Navigation 83

4.3.3 Surveillance 92

4.3.4 Air Traffic Management 97

4.4 Transition phase 98

4.6 Affordability 99

4.7 Conclusion 100

Chapter 5 Analysis of ASECNA's modernization strategy 102

5.1 Description of the strategy 102

5.1.1 Communications 102

5.1.2 Navigation 103

5.1.3 Surveillance 103

5.1.4 Systems on board the aircraft 105

5.1.5 Aviation weather 105

5.1.6 Air Traffic Management 106

5.1.7 Cooperation 107

5.1.8 Training 110

5.1.9 Financing 110

5.1.10 Implementation schedule up to 2015 112

5.2 Analysis 113

5.3 Conclusion 115

Chapter 6 Recommendations and Conclusion 117

References 122

Appendix 1 Presentation of ASECNA 126

Appendix 2: Ground Based Navigation Systems Principles 130

1 How the VOR works 130

2 How DME works 132

3 How ILS works 133

4 Multilateration 134

Appendix 3 WGS-1984 136

Appendix 4 ASECNA'S Telecommunications Network 137

Appendix 5 Air Traffic Projected Growth by world region 138

Appendix 6 ICAO's Navigation SARPs 139

Appendix 7 ASECNA's Satellite Navigation Circuits 140

Appendix 8 ASECNA'S ATS/Direct Speech Network 141

Appendix 9 CNS/ATM: Drivers and Origins 142

List of Figures

Chapter 1

Figure 1.1 Short term evolution of crude oil 2

Figure 1.2 Analytical Framework of ASECNA's performance analysis 5

Chapter 2

Figure 2.1 ASECNA area in this report 10

Figure 2.2 Share of population and GDP by country 12

Figure 2.3 Stakeholders 15

Figure 2.1 Repartition of Aircraft types in Africa 18

Figure 2.2 Intra African market Fleet (Jets + Turbo Propellers) 19

Figure 2.3 African fleet annual utilization 20

Figure 2.4 African fleet Evolution from 2003 to 2023 21

Figure 2.5 RPK, ASK (Billion) and Passengers load factors in Africa 21

Figure 2.6 Trend in Aviation fuel cost 23

Figure 2.7 Yields and Unit costs in Key markets 23

Figure 2.8 African Airlines 1 Operating costs (Unit cost $ per tonne per Km) 24

Figure 2.9 Regional share of global international air passenger traffic 26

Figure 2.10 Evolution of passenger traffic (1994-2003) 27

Figure 2.11 Average Airport Passenger Traffic (2000-2004) 28

Figure 2.12 Evolution of Cargo traffic (1994-2003) 31

Chapter 3

Figure 3.1 ASECNA's Flight Information Regions 37

Figure 3.2 Number of flights from 1993 to 2003 38

Figure 3.3 Number of aircraft movements at 15 key airports 39

Figure 3.4 Areas of Routing 41

Figure 3.5 Average number of flights controlled per hour and per controller 43

Figure 3.6 Projected growth over the next decade 45

Figure 3.7 Projected runway occupancy in ASECNA's main airports 46

Figure 3.8 Projected controllers' productivity in 2015 47

Figure 3.9 Evolution of Air Proximities 48

1 Flight Equipment comprises maintenance, insurance, and rental. The others operating expenses are not mentioned here. But it's interesting to note that administration unit costs for non efficient airlines are extremely high, almost twenty times higher than an efficient airline' unit costs.

Figure 3.10 Evolution of incidents during the last six years 49

Figure 3.11 Flight paths between Douala and Dakar 51

Figure 3.12 The different phases of a flight 52

Figure 3.13 Evolution of air navigation charges 54

Figure 3.14 Personnel, ANS and transport costs from 1996 to 2003 55

Figure 3.15 Evolution of the average cost per flight from 1996 to 2003 56

Figure 3.16 Evolution of en route revenues from 1996 to 2003 57

Figure 3.17 Regional fragmentation of ATM sectors 58

Figure 3.18 Financial results from 1994 to 2003 59

Figure 3.19 OPMET availability rate 68

Chapter 4

Figure 4.1 Communication links in ASECNA 74

Figure 4.2 CPDLC test message 75

Figure 4.3 Estimated capacity gained as a function of % of CPDLC equipage 76

Figure 4.4 Aeronautical telecommunications network concept 82

Figure 4.5 Comparison between EGNOS and GPS 85

Figure 4.6 Lateral and Vertical Total System Error 87

Figure 4.7 Comparison between RNAV, RNP and conventional navigation 89

Figure 4.8 Atlanta SID trials: Non RNAV tracks 90

Figure 4.9 Atlanta SID trials: RNAV tracks 90

Figure 4.10 Projected RNP-RNAV capable aircraft 91

Figure 4.11 ADS-B operational capabilities 94

Figure 4.12 ADS-B performances Vs Radar 96

Chapter 5

Figure 5.1 Classification of CNS/ATM expenditure 112

Figure 5.2 Possible Airspace redesign by 2030 115


Statutory structure 128

External representations' organisation chart 129

VOR station 131

World Geodetic System 136

ASECNA's Telecommunication Network 137

ASECNA's Satellite connectivity 140

ASECNA's ATS/DS network 141

Evolution of CNS/ATM implementation 145

List of Tables

Table 2.1 Comparative GDP and Population 11

Table 2.2 Situation of aircraft operated in the world 19

Table 2.3 Daily passenger traffic between city pairs 29

Table 2.4 International traffic at major regional airports 30

Table 3.1 The main airstream in ASECNA 40

Table 3.2 Traffic by FIR 40

Table 3.3 Average traffic density from 2001 to 2003 42

Table 3.4 Average traffic density by 2015 46

Table 3.5 Average ANS cost per flight in Europe, ASECNA and the USA 56

Table 3.6 Equipments availability 65

Table 3.7 Air circulation control: controlled routes 67

Table 4.1 Workload reduction as a function of aircraft equipage 77

Table 4.2 Delays reduction as function of aircraft equipage 77

Table 4.3 Results for lateral and vertical accuracy with EGNOS 87

Table 4.4 Results for availability during trials Vs ICAO's SARPs 87

Table 4.5 ICAO's SARPs for lateral and vertical accuracy 87

Glossary A

ACC Area Control Centre

ADS Automatic Dependent Surveillance

ADS-B Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast mode

ADS-C Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract mode

AFI Africa Indian ocean area

AFS Aeronautical Fixed Service

AFTN Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network

AIS Aeronautical Information Service

AMS(R) S Aeronautical Mobile-Satellite (R) Service

AMHS Aeronautical Mobile Handling System

AMSS Aeronautical Mobile-Satellite Service

ANSP Air Navigation Service Provider

AOC Airline Operation Centre

APIRG AFI Planning and Implementation Regional Group

APV Approach with vertical guidance

AR Area of routing

ASECNA Agency for Security, Aerial Navigation in Africa and Madagascar

ASM Airspace Management

ASK Available Seat Kilometre

ATC Air Traffic Control

ATFM Air Traffic Flow Management

ATM Air Traffic Management

ATN Aeronautical Telecommunication Network

ATS Air Traffic Services

ATS/DS Air Traffic Services Direct Speech


CDM Collaborative Decision Making

CDMA Code Division Multiple Access

CFIT Controlled Flight Into Terrain

CNS/ATM Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management CPDLC Controller pilot data link communications


DECCA A low frequency hyperbolic radio navigation system

DFIS Data Link Flight Information Services

DME Distance Measuring Equipment


EGNOS Eurpean Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service

EUR European Region

EUROCAT Thales ATM (Commercial organisation) air traffic management automation product


FAF Final Approach Fix

FANS Future Air Navigation Systems

FIR Flight Information Region

FDPS Flight Data Processing System

FL Flight Level

FMS Flight Management System


GLONASS Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (Russian Federation)

GNSS Global Navigation Satellite System

GPS Global Positioning System (United States)


HF High Frequency

HFDL High Frequency Data Link


IATA International Air Transport Association

ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization

IFR Instrument Flight Rules

ILS Instrument Landing System

INS Inertial navigation system

ITU International Telecommunication Union


LORAN Long Range Air Navigation


MET Meteorological services for air navigation

METAR Aviation routine weather report

MLS Microwave Landing System

MODE S Mode Select


NDB Non-directional beacon

NOTAM Notice To Airmen

NPA Non-precision approach

NSE Navigation System Error


OPMET Operational Meteorology


PDN Paquet data Network

PIRG Planning and Implementation Regional Group


RIMS Ranging Integrity Monitoring Station

RNAV Area Navigation

RNP Required Navigation Performance

RPK Revenue Passenger Kilometre

RTK Revenue Tonne Kilometre

RVSM Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum


SAM South American Region

SARPs Standards and Recommended Practices

SAS Scandinavian Airways

SAT South Atlantic

SATCOM Satellite Communication

SBAS Satellite-based augmentation system

SID Standard Instrument Departure

SIGMET Significant Meteorological event

SIGWX Significant Weather

SITA Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques

SSR Secondary Surveillance Radar


TACAS Terminal Access Controller Access Control System

TACAN Tactical Air Navigation

TAF Terminal area forecast

TDMA Time Division Multiple Access

TMA Terminal Manoeuvring Area

TSE Total System Error


VDL VHF Data Link

VFR Visual flight rules

VHF Very High Frequency

VOR VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range


WGS-84 World Geodetic Reference System 1984

Chapter 1 : Introduction to Thesis

The aim of this chapter is to introduce the research topic and to present the objectives and the methodology used to respond to the research question.

1.1. Background

Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa (ASECNA1) is a regional publicly held establishment that provides navigation services to 15 West and Central African Countries2, plus Madagascar and the Comoro islands in the Indian ocean.

The region is relatively poor. Economic characteristics are those of developing countries. Some of the less advanced countries are located there.

ASECNA covers an area of 16 million square kilometres3, most of which is unoccupied and dominated by the Sahara desert, oceans and forests.

The Air Transport Industry has changed significantly over the past decade. These changes were dictated by a combination of factors, mainly operational and financial, following a succession of crisis4. The airline industry is increasingly sensitive to the cost of doing business.


Air carriers demand direct routes, flight level optimization, efficient in-flight and improved en-route fuel5 consumption. Figure 1.1 below shows the projected upwards evolution of crude oil prices. That means airlines' fuel bill will significantly increase. Cost reduction is one aspect of mitigating the effects of fuel high price. It explains why airspace users want more efficiency. It is one of the factors that led them to incite suppliers, such as air navigation service providers (ANSP) to improve their effectiveness and the quality of service provision.

1 In the present study designates both the agency or the geographic region

2 Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ivory Cost, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo. France is also an observer member.

3 Equivalent to almost 66 times Great Britain size.

4 September Eleven, SARS, Bird Flu, Second Golf War...

5 Crude oil price was around 50 dollars per barrel in 2005

Figure 1.1: Short-term evolution of crude oil prices

Source: IATA, 2006


Air travel and air traffic are continuously growing. The number of aircraft movements has increased by 5.3 per cent per year on average over the past 15 years in ASECNA region, which is in line with worldwide trends. The growth is forecast to continue at an estimated yearly pace of 5 per cent. That activity means an increasing pressure will be put on airports and air navigation systems, which may raise airspace and airport capacity concerns.


Safety records are worrying in Africa. The continent represents only about 3 per cent of global traffic. Nevertheless, statistics show that almost one third of fatal accidents over the past ten years occurred in Africa according to IATA.

Air Transport is a catalyst for development and trade. Efficiency, Capacity and Safety of air navigation systems are therefore strategic components for a viable regional6 air transport industry and growing national economies.

The important question is whether ASECNA will manage to overcome the current and future challenges. Will they respond to users' requirements while delivering a safer service, in the interest of regional air transport?

The agency has embarked on a modernisation programme since 1994. It is implementing modern air navigation systems, known as Future Air Navigation Systems (FANS) or CNS/ATM (Control, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management).

CNS/ATM systems are a complex and interrelated set of technologies and concepts largely based on satellite communication. They are the response brought forward by the aviation community, under the aegis of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in response to the challenges described above. Regional work groups have been put in place to coordinate efforts. ASECNA is member of AFI7 Planning and Implementation Regional Group (APIRG), which regroups African and Indian Ocean countries

The thesis intends to investigate current systems' performance in ASECNA. It highlights regional shortcomings and needs, and examines the agency's modernisation strategy, CNS/ATM adopted solutions, and their implications on service provision for the next 15 years.

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