In the beginning was the DAC

Published: Sunday, 28 November 2010 17:21


The Civil Aviation Directorate (DAC) whose creation dates from 1963, during 35 years, piloted the major issues of the Cameroonian civil aviation. How was this body created and how did she evolve till its replacement by the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority? Story....

 The use of aircraft during World War II led to a dissemination of facilities and aids to air navigation worldwide and thereby induced an almost spontaneous standardization. It is this situation that prompted the United States of America in 1944, to take the initiative of a diplomatic conference for the purpose of regulating the use of aircraft, define the characteristics of an airfield and unify the rules of air navigation and air transport worldwide.
While the outcome of the war was already being foreseen at the battlefields, this conference was held in Chicago on December 7, 1944 and resulted in the signing by 52 states of an international agreement (called the Chicago convention) on Aviation which contained 96 articles. at this meeting, a permanent organization called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), was created to enhance the goals cited above. The Chicago conference also adopted seven (07) technical’s annexes containing double standards (technical specifications whose implementation by ICAO Member States was mandatory with applicable sanctions in case of default provided for in Article 94 of the Chicago Convention which could include embargo like the example of Iraq during the Gulf war
1990) and recommended practices (technical specifications whose application is not mandatory but desirable by ICAO for member States).

ICAO, being a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for enhancing the above objectives put forth by the Chicago Convention, only independent states can become members. Thus having gained independence on the 1st of January 1960, Cameroon logically ratified the Chicago Convention in January 15, 1960 and by this became a member of ICAO with a legal obligation, to apply the standards put forward by the technical annexes to the Chicago Convention. This Convention, which entered into force in 1947 today, has almost all independent states as members given that in 2006, the organization counted 189 states as members.

The creation of the DAC

From the beginning, as much as ICAO was responsible at the international level for perpetuating the objectives of the Chicago Conference, a Civil Aviation Directorate (DAC) had to take over at the national level and continue to execute these objectives at the level of each ICAO Member State. It is in this perspective that led to the creation of the DAC by Decree of 20 December 1959. The Head of State subsequently enacted Law No. 63 / LF / 35 of 5 November 1963 on the Civil Aviation code. This law established the legal birth of the Civil Aviation Directorate. It is a structure under Ministry of Civil Aviation, namely, the Ministry of Transport.

So for 35 years, from 1963 to 1998, under the authority of a director, DAC was responsible for the development and implementation of government policy on air transport. This structure equally had as objective, the design and implementation of regulations on air traffic and air transportation, supervision of air navigation, inspection and control of the operations of airport facilities, the coordination of all air transport activities and participation in international conferences within its field of activities.
With workforce  of seventy (70) persons, the DAC included the Department of General Affairs, the Sub-Directorate of Air navigation and the sub-Directorate of air transport and airports. These three DAC structures together with ASECNA (Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar which Cameroon is a member and which managed air traffic control at airports), CAMAIR as unique national carrier in a legitimate position of monopoly and some other 3rd level airlines ensuring air transport demand such as Air Affaires Afrique(AAA), and Bureau VERITAS in Douala, basically constituted the bulk of the aviation system in Cameroon for the implementation of ICAO standards continually as the sector experienced increase.

Engineer of Civil Aviation
Assistant Director of Development of the CCAA Safety
Headquarters: B.P.: 6998 Yaounde - Cameroon
Phone: (237) 22 30 30 90/22 30 26 92
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