UPPER AIR SPACE CONTROL
SARAJEVO: On 21 January 2000, civil aviation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) took a giant leap forward with the decision by COMSFOR to return upper airspace control to the civilian authorities. This allows commercial flights to operate between 29,000 and 39,000 feet and means that income can now be generated from over-flight fees. On 14 February, in a related development, SFOR began training 9 civilian air traffic controllers as part of the process of returning Sarajevo Airport to full civilian operation. In July 2000 SHAPE gave approval for COMSFOR to lift enforcement of the air embargo against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia established in spring 1999 as a result of Operation Allied Guard.
airspace had been under SFOR control since the end of the NATO bombing
campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in June 1999. Commercial
airliners had been excluded from over-flying BiH since March of that year
for security reasons.
This confidence-building measure is good news for both
airline passengers and the citizens of BiH, saving passengers time and
money and generating income for BiH. The decision means that income may
now be generated from over-flight fees, but this is not yet effective;
these much-needed funds could be used to improve the civil aviation structure.
Training for civil control
has developed an On-the-Job Training programme for 9 civilian air traffic
controllers in Sarajevo Airport, to prepare them for assuming civilian
control of the newly rebuilt air traffic control tower. An initial training
programme in ground control, tower control and flight data began in February
2000 and will continue until they are licensed.
BiH now has control of the important commercial FL290 to FL390 and, to a lesser extent, FL100 to FL160. The Country now has the opportunity to obtain funds through over-flight revenues and use these funds to modernize its civil aviation system and structures. It is an opportunity to take ownership of another of the challenges on the road to peace and long term prosperity.