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Zambia’s Air Traffic Control Gets Thales TopSky-ATC Upgrade

Thales is partnering with Zambia Airports Corporation Limited to modernize air traffic control (ATC) in Zambia. The new ATC system will enable data-based communication between Zambia’s ATC centers and pilots, replacing traditional voice radio communication. The Thales TopSky ATC solution will be introduced at the ATC centers at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka, and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, Livingstone.

  • Thales is modernizing the ATC (air traffic control) centers at Lusaka and Livingstone airports in Zambia.
  • This implementation follows a contract signed in 2014 with Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL)
  • Thales is expanding its TopSky – ATC air traffic control automation solution with two new applications.
    • The first is Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), which allows clear and secure dialogue between pilots and controllers.
    • The second is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C), which automatically transmits aircraft flight status reports to ATM ground systems.
The image shows a graphic representation of the internal routes (according to the 2021 annual report of ZACL). It depicts the main flows by En Route.

This collaboration will introduce Datalink CPDLC and ADS-C solutions. Implementing these solutions will significantly enhance flight safety by reducing the risk associated with degraded radio communications. VHF channels will remain available as the primary mode of communication in the Flight Information Region (FIR). The upgraded systems will provide an additional layer of safety. They facilitate efficient and accurate information exchange between air traffic control officers (ATCOs) and pilots. This comprehensive data network ensures that ATCOs have real-time situational awareness. This enables controllers to effectively manage and coordinate aircraft movements, thereby enhancing air safety within Zambia’s airspace.

How Thales TopSky-ATC Works

Thales TopSky-ATC.

Zambia Air Traffic Control Enhancements

Thales TopSky – ATC is an advanced automation solution used for air traffic control in both civilian and military environments. It offers air traffic controllers and technicians a user-friendly interface to access real-time flight information. This allows for quicker and more informed decision-making. The system also includes tools to efficiently identify and resolve conflicts. Additionally, it enables optimized sequencing and improved overall performance. TopSky – ATC is a trusted choice for managing en route, approach, and oceanic traffic.

“We would like to thank ZACL for their continued trust and are proud to be able to support them once again in improving air navigation safety by integrating two state-of-the-art functions into our TopSky – ATC system, which are perfectly suited to today’s needs. Together, Thales and ZACL are delivering the safer air travel of tomorrow,“ said Cyril Einaudi, Vice President Global Turnkey segment, Thales.

Thales has emerged as a prominent force in Air Traffic Management (ATM) across Africa. 80% of the continent’s control centers have adopted the TopSky-ATC solution. It is also the go-to choice for over 16,000 controllers internationally. Presently, Africa benefits from the reliable functionality of over 80 Thales ATC radars.

Kenneth Kaunda International Airport

Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, located in Lusaka, is a hub airport in the SADC region. Opened in 1967, it provides services for domestic, regional, and international flights. The airport has a 3.9km runway, parallel taxiway, and taxiway links. It can accommodate aircraft for landing up to a B747.  Recent construction of Terminal 2 in KKIA cost $360 million.

Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport

Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport, formerly Livingstone International Airport, is in Zambia’s Southern Province. The airport boasts modern facilities, including a new terminal building, runway, apron, and apron lights. Originally built in 1950 for domestic flights, the airport has undergone significant upgrades to cater to domestic and international travelers. It is situated just 5km from Livingstone town. The airport is 15km from the Victoria Falls, making it a convenient gateway to this natural wonder.

About Thales

Thales is a prominent company listed on Euronext Paris (HO) that operates in three main domains: Defence and Security, Aeronautics and Space, and Digital Identity and Security. It is renowned for its cutting-edge technologies for a safer, more sustainable, and more inclusive world. Thales invests nearly €4 billion annually in Research and Development. It focuses on emerging fields such as quantum technologies, Edge computing, 6G, and cybersecurity.

With 77,000 employees spread across 68 countries, Thales achieved sales of €17.6 billion in 2022.

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