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The People: Firstly, there is discussion on the airport masterplan- on the agenda there is a second runway. Could you elaborate with more information?

Mr. Albert: SCAA has been in discussion with Government to consider including the airport in the national reclamation project that is expected to take place in the near future. The idea is to do minimum reclamation in view of the high costs involved. If this is considered, SCAA’s plan is to build a new runway on the reclaimed land. The existing runway shall be used as a parallel taxi way (and can also be used in the event of emergency) because due to low traffic, it is not feasible to have two runways concurrently.

The People: Is government making maximum use of the airport area as it is or are there plans to reclaim the area for more space so as to materialize the expansion?

Mr. Albert: For now, besides our request to reclaim for runway construction, our plan is to use the existing footprint of the airport for other facilities. The process of reviewing our masterplan is ongoing that will determine the best way to revamp the existing terminal facilities to create more space and reinforce security. It is important to note that the land at Zone 21 (between the airport and Cascade bridge) was reclaimed years ago for airport development. Facilities such as Skychef, SEYPEC fuel tanks, aircraft parking amongst others will be moving to this area. The land has also been earmarked for a brand-new terminal when the time is right. SCAA’s preferred choice is to go for a new terminal, but due to budget constraints, we will modernize the existing terminals as a short-term solution to cater for growth. However, the land designated for airport development will be reserved for this purpose.

The People: We have learned that government will be introducing a levy that will contribute towards upgrading the airport. Tell us more about the levy and the stakeholders involved?

Mr. Albert: The levy will cover Government’s responsibility to reclaim land (which is around $60-$70m) and other investments that normally a Government carries out; such as Advance Passenger Information, Border, Search and Rescue. The levy will be collected by the airlines when they sell the tickets. SCAA on the other hand will continue to invest in capital projects such as terminal renovation and extension, Head Office construction and other internal projects.

The People: We’ve also learned about more parking bays at the airport and the introduction of pay parking to curb on abuses. Can you explain?

Mr. Albert: With the increase in aircrafts coming in, there is definitely a need to create more parking space to accommodate the increase. Our plan is to relocate the SEYPEC fuel tanks that will provide additional parking space. It is true that we are finalizing the process to implement pay parking. This will create another revenue source for SCAA to generate finance for our projects and also to help alleviate abuse of the parking area which is putting a lot of pressure on the authority and causing a lot of frustration from the public. It is high time that we take necessary steps to ensure that genuine airport users find it hassle free to come to the airport and finds a place to park their car, we certainly cannot continue with the way things are at the moment.

The People: As part of future projects, there is also the construction of a new Head Office for SCAA.

Mr. Albert: This is correct. We need to have our employees operating in better working conditions. At present we are scattered in different places and renting out offices, around the airport area and even as far as Talbot in Cascade. The new Head Office will bring the majority of our employees under one roof with modern facilities, and better operational efficiency. The current SCAA main office at the terminal can be allocated for stakeholders such as Air Seychelles, Immigration, Customs, Police, DMCs, as there is a high demand for more offices to cater for operational needs.

The People: In the aviation business overseas, they are discussing cybersecurity at the airports. What is SCAA doing with regards to cybersecurity at the Seychelles Airport?

Mr. Albert: The civil aviation sector is increasingly reliant on the availability of information and communication technology systems, as well as the integrity and confidentiality of data. The threat posed by possible cyber incidents to civil aviation is continuously evolving, with the threat of actors focusing on malicious intents, disruptions, of business continuity and theft of information for financial or other motivations.
Recognizing the multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary nature of cybersecurity, and noticing that cyber-attacks can simultaneously affect a wide range of areas and spread rapidly, the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) vision for global cybersecurity has developed a common vision for global Cybersecurity;
The civil aviation sector is resilient to cyber-attacks and remains safe and trusted globally, whilst continuing to innovate and grow.
As a member state of ICAO, we have adopted this vision and we are taking the necessary steps to strengthen our capabilities to deal with this threat, by investing in capacity building and training and creating awareness on the cybersecurity culture within the organisation and amongst other aviation stakeholders. We are also putting in place the necessary internal framework to facilitate and develop our internal Cybersecurity policy, governance and procedures.
SCAA also participates in international events on cybersecurity in civil aviation that serve as a platform for knowledge exchange between States, international organizations and industry.

The People: The use of drones in the airport vicinity. Is it a threat or not? What is the policy?

Mr. Albert: Definitely! The growth in drone technology is a threat to many airports because it can affect the safety of flights. There are four types of drones; the small ones we see in Seychelles used for photography, the technical ones used for operation (assisting with systems calibration) and as we see in some countries; those used for transporting goods (medicines, parcels) and then the commercial drones (taxi drones). And lastly the military ones. Together with the Ministry, we are developing Regulations to provide a framework for the use of drones in Seychelles. Meanwhile at SCAA, we are firstly going to sensitize the public on how to effectively use their personal drones so as not to cause danger to aircraft. Secondly, and most importantly, we will start the process to get all drone users to register their drones with SCAA so that we can capture the owners and make use of drones.

The People: We saw last week a video in circulation depicting certain security measures at the airport by ANB personnel. Should security measures undertaken at the airport be made public?

Mr. Albert: This is the first time that such an incident happened. We have learnt from it. Going forward we have put in place a procedure that footage will not be released except in two specific instances; Firstly, at the request of the Police through a request made to the Commissioner of Police, and secondly to the Accident Investigation Board for aircraft or airport accident/incident investigations purposes.