Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel, ATSEPs, to ensure the smooth and Continuous running of air navigation facilities in Africa, have called on their colleagues to embrace and expand Information Technology.
This is because the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way things were done, and has brought in what is now called the new normal, which includes physical distancing, wearing of face masks, hand sanitizing among others.
Speaking during a webinar organized by Mr. Frank Ogochukwu, with the theme: The Challenges and Opportunities for ATSEP’s, “During and post COVID-19” the immediate past President, Ugandan ATSEP Association, Mr. Andrew Mwesige, stressed that with the health protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic, newer technology would be deployed to do the job and fewer personnel would be needed in this regard.
He noted that ATSEPs should not entertain any fear of job loss but to braze up to the new challenges that may come up as a result of this pandemic.
“We must be flexible willing to learn new skills leave the legacy technology and move to new technology.”
The Ugandan ATSEPs professional said because revenues are plummeting, maintenance of equipment and acquisition would be affected, adding that African countries would need to find a way to ensure that safety is not compromise.
Mr. Mwesige said Africa must think of new models of financing its infrastructure in embracing new technology like leasing that give them breathing space as they cannot afford to spend money the way they use to.
President, South Africa ATSEP Association, Mr. Sam Mahlangu stated that with the current situation, they might be forced to keep the system running beyond its lifespan.
“The system that is supposed to give us service for 10 years we might have to run that for 5 years and the ATSEPs need to be innovate on how to keep that system alive and ensure safety of the flying public. All this resources we are talking about infrastructure they come with a huge cost.”
On how ATSEPs have been coping in discharging their duties and ensuring the safety of ATSEPs officers during this COVID, Mahlangu explained that they have introduced more remote work activities and respond to them remotely in compliance with physical distancing.
He stressed that their emphasis was more of ensuring that their system remained safe and operating.
Mr. Ishaya Dung, National President, Association of Air Traffic Engineers, Nigeria, said maintaining social distancing was difficult for them because quite a number of ATSEPs have to occupy the same vehicle at the same time trying to meet up their obligations in terms of maintenance either preventive or repairs.
Dung said they are appraising the current situation as it affects their job and make adjustments were necessary so they can carryout their duties efficiently.