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BiH Aviation Normalisation, a new step

By 1st Lt. Philippe Mouret
First published in
SFOR Informer#123, October 3, 2001

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has just passed a decisive stage in the normalisation of the control of its airspace. Sept. 14, during a meeting in the office of EuroControl, in Brussels, Dr. Azra Hadziahmetovic, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, signed a profit-sharing agreement to enlist BiH in the programme of the Central European Air Traffic Services (CEATS) exchange.

Representatives of ICAO, OHR, NATO and SFOR participated in the meeting. The CEATS organises the control of planes in the zone covering Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and BiH.
In August 2000, BiH aviation law created the BiH DCA. This organisation should have signed a contract Oct. 1 with the Croatian traffic control authority (CCL), based in Zagreb. This means that the responsibility of the Air Traffic Service (ATS) in its intermediate airspace has been transferred to the Croatian authorities and it extends from 10,000 (3,000 m) to 29,000 feet (8,700 m). The mandate of CCL will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2002, for an unspecified duration, up to the time BiH will be able to perform those services. At present, the traffic control of this airspace is insured by SFOR, through the NATO Zagreb mission control.

General Framework
Agreement for Peace (GFAP)
Annex 1A, Article VI, Para 9 (b) (3)

"The IFOR (SFOR) Commander will implement the transfer to civilian control of airspace over Bosnia and Herzegovina in a gradual fashion consistent with the objective of the IFOR to ensure smooth and safe operation of an air traffic system upon IFOR departure.".

The transfer of the intermediate airspace of BiH comes after the one of the upper airspace, on Jan. 1, 2000. At this level, BiH DCA divided the zone between two providers of service: CCL and FATCA, based in Belgrade. Taxes for flying over their airspace are directly taken by CCL and FATCA, which put back 20 percent in the BiH DCA. This process of normalisation is led according to General Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH (GFAP), which charged IFOR, then SFOR, with the responsibility of the management and the transfer of the civil air control (see box). French Maj. Denis Leininger, Deputy Air Forward/Aviation Normalisation (AVNORM), clarified: "This mission includes organisation of the airspace, but also airports and civil air administration."

International actors of the process have gathered since November 2000 in ISC BiH, which meets regularly under the authority of ICAO to promulgate recommendations. They include representatives of EuroControl, OHR, SFOR and ECAC. Maj. Gen. François de Goësbriand, DCOMSFOR, explained that: "The sky belongs to nobody and to everybody. The airspace of a country belongs to it, but is also international airspace. There are laws and international rules governed by ICAO." For Air Vice Marshal Martyn Gardiner, military advisor to the High Representative: "Other important aspects of the re-organisation of civil aviation of BiH is the Operational Assistance (OPAS) programme, proposed by ICAO and financed by the European Commission (EC)." OPAS should start in this October for a duration of three years with the arrival of Yves Lambert, former director of EuroControl, who will manage BiH's DCA. His mission is to organise the structure, recruitment and forming of the staff. French Col. René Chapeau, Civil Aviation Officer at the OHR, underlined that, "Mr. Lambert's post does not exist anywhere else in civil aviation. It was created by the government of the country to set up the BiH DCA." Besides this mission, he inherits the role that until recently was held by the local representative of ICAO, Vijendra Singh.
The aim is to make BiH DCA, after certification by ICAO, a part of EuroControl, ECAC and CEATS. For this purpose, BiH DCA must establish a realistic budget and assure its financing. It must also publish its Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) and its aeronautical information and organise its services for meteorology and of "Search and Rescue" (SAR). Sums to be engaged are very important. In December 2000, according to International Management Group (IMG), the International Community had already invested about $40 million in the normalisation of BiH's air traffic and rehabilitation of three main airports (Sarajevo, $33 million; Mostar, $5.6 million; and Banja Luka, $1.3 million). Main donors were EC, 34 percent, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), 33 percent.
De Goësbriand insisted: "As long as there is no organised BiH DCA, there will not be a sovereign power over the airspace appropriate for this country… A political will is needed to develop a financial plan laid out by BiH DCA to recruit, form, and pay technicians and specialists."

International Community Players
• BiH DCA
Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) of Bosnia and Herzegovna, is the legal organisation responsible for all aspects of civil aviation within the country.
• CEATS (Central European Air Traffic Services)
• EC (European Commission)
Source of European Policy initiatives for EU. Promotes free commerce among Member States.
• ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference)
Promotes a safe, efficient and sustainable European air transport system. In co-operation with ICAO, seeks to harmonise civil aviation policies among member states. Provides training for aviation professionals.
• EUROCONTROL
Overall Air Traffic Services manager for Europe. Consolidates control areas into regional management functions and regulates flow of air traffic throughout the region.
• ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation)
Lead organisation for BiH Aviation Normalisation (AVNORM). Seeks to standardise international civil aviation practices. Provides technical co-operation for civil aviation development.
• ISC BiH (International Standing Committee on Bosnia and Herzegovna)
• OHR (Office of the High Representative)
Lead International Community (IC) representative to BiH. Link between IC and BiH government.
• SFOR
Current airspace control authority (delegated to AIRSOUTH). Move from lead to supporting role for retrocession of airspace to civilians..

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