Keeping our airspace safe

Keeping pilots, crew and passengers safe is at the heart of Air Traffic and Navigation Services’ (ATNS).

The state-owned company provides safe, expeditious and efficient air traffic management solutions and associated services.

Dr Sandile Malinga works as the chief operations officer (COO) at ATNS.

He spoke to PSM about the lengths to which ATNS goes to ensure its staff is equipped with the right skills, as well as his role in the organisation.

In the right space Dr Malinga is a space physicist by profession, with a PhD in Physics from Rhodes University.

He kicked off his career as a lecturer at Rhodes University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal and was later appointed as marketing director of the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory

(which is now a directorate of the South African National Space Agency) in the Western Cape, a post he held until 2010.

 In the same year, he was seconded to the Department of Science and Technology as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). “I was involved in setting SANSA up in 2010.

Once it was up and running, I was appointed fully as the CEO of the agency,” he said. Dr Malinga joined ATNS in 2016 in his current position.

He is responsible for overseeing the operations of four key departments: air traffic control services; operations technology,

which is responsible for formulating and rolling out the technology used by the entity; air traffic aviation training; and lastly, the information technology department.

“About 1 000 of the 1 300 employees of the entity report to me, directly or indirectly,” he said. “I am the core of the business that we do here.

I am in charge of the engine of the ATNS,” he said. Unlike a CEO, whose work is more outwardly focused and ensures stakeholder management and the overall supervision of an entity,

Dr Malinga as COO focuses largely on the operations of the entity Keeping our airspace safe

Keeping our airspace safe and ensuring that the key departments he oversees deliver so that the entity can meet its mandate.

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Author: ปราณี