In July of this year I started my role as an ICAO Surveillance Adviser to the Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) at their Air Navigation Services (ANS) HQ in Jeddah.
The role is part of the ICAO Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB) office that has been established in the Kingdom since the 1970s. The aim of the office is to provide GACA with advice and assistance in the development and implementation of projects within civil aviation in general.
TCB experts assist the national authorities with the implementation of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) that are developed by ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau and relate to the safety, regularity and efficiency of international air navigation. Being part of ICAO, a non-profit UN agency, the TCB is in a unique place to offer national authorities neutral and objective services and advise.
Using my knowledge and expertise in surveillance, I provide advice and recommendations to GACA on how to implement various surveillance solutions and how to best exploit new technologies in this field.
I also contribute to the education of systems engineers within the Systems Engineering Department (SED) on air traffic systems in general and the applications of surveillance systems. The mixture of educational and technical tasks brings a satisfying variety to the daily roles. During my 12 years at NATS, I continually developed my knowledge and technical skills and these experiences prepared me well for this current role.
While there is plenty of talk about next generation systems and programmes, the preparation and empowerment of the professionals (Air traffic controllers, engineers and their support teams) delivering these advancements, are vital to the success of the initiatives.
Therefore I eagerly look forward to fulfilling the aims of the ICAO mission by contributing to the delivery of next generation systems and the preparation of future ATM professionals.
Working at NATS made me realise the necessity of having good training and high quality engineering schemes as well as competent role models within successful organizations and I highly regard NATS’ credentials in this area.
There is an evident growth of the air traffic sector in the Middle East region and this brings challenges and opportunities. Air Traffic movements in the Kingdom have grown by more than 50% in the last 6 years and is continually growing.
Such growth means the future is exciting for us as engineers who deliver technologies that enable safe growth and efficiencies within the airspace. The challenges ahead are significant and while there is a will to overcome them, it will require collaborations and commitment of the stakeholders when implementing harmonization and technical solutions in the ME region as a whole.
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