n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Of neighbours and shared upper airspaces : the role of South Africa in the management of the upper airspaces of the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland

Volume 48, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has been intensifying efforts to improve aviation safety in the past few years. One of the ways it sought to do this was to encourage states to move towards a more harmonised system of upper airspace management. This has also influenced the operations of regional blocs such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa (COMESA). The efforts to gradually build towards a single African upper airspace management system is preceded at the domestic level by bilateral arrangements between member states of The ICAO in terms of which some states delegate the monitoring and management of their upper airspaces to a third, more capable state. This paper assesses the compliance of both Lesotho and Swaziland with the ICAO's recommendations under its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) programme. It thus focuses on the delegation of the upper airspace management of two southern African states, namely Lesotho and Swaziland to South Africa as a response to the recommendations contained in the USOAP Report. The paper will assess how these agreements were entered into between the three countries, and how they add to or frustrate the efforts at the SADC level of doing away with territorial or nationally regulated upper airspaces and introducing a single sky controlled from a central point rather than from different states. This article limits itself to civil aviation only.

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