Rodrigo Vásquez
Director General
Federal Agency of Civil Aviation
Expert Contributor

e-AFAC: Key to AFAC’s Consolidation

By Rodrigo Vasquéz | Fri, 11/20/2020 - 13:17

The consolidation of the Federal Agency of Civil Aviation (AFAC) was outlined according to four transformational axes: automation and systematization, technological development of the industry, greater training and updating industry norms. Together with the Civil Aviation Master Plan, these are essential for the fulfillment of an objective of the sectoral planning for communications and transport established by the government of Mexico and delineated in the brief, "Consolidating the Federal Agency of Civil Aviation as an independent organism in charge of the aeronautical policy."   

Automation and systematization are priorities for AFAC today. Consolidation must include a process of updating and developing new technological tools that allow an effective and efficient aeronautical authority, capable of responding in real time. To this end, the implementation of an integral system called e-AFAC has been initiated to determine the need for computer systems in all areas of AFAC and with the maxim of modernizing the aeronautical authority according to the highest standards of leading technological development in order to enter the digital era, in addition to transforming the administrative processes that are offered to the aeronautical sector.  

The e-AFAC system should allow the aeronautical authority in Mexico to adopt global technology trends, given the urgent need to change the status quo, which is to say the immediate need for innovation to improve, to define priorities, to simplify processes and procedures, to eradicate inadequate practices, to suppress obsolete models of processing and to manage human resources and operational costs. In essence, to generate timely and efficient information for decision-making at the national level and to narrow the technology gap.

From the aviation authority's perspective, e-AFAC is another gear in the authority’s transformation, based on a comprehensive safety system model used by the European civil aviation authority community and recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). e-AFAC is a complete, integrated and fully digital modular package that will be able to respond to the fundamental safety obligations of the CAAA and achieve the international commitment to meet operational standards. 

At present, intense work is being done on the structuring of the integral digital system for e-AFAC, with five central categories and 30 specific modules. The five central categories diversify particular activities through specific modules that interact among them to create dynamism in the system. Under this logic, e-AFAC will include essential functions related to personnel licenses for pilots, crew, flight controllers, maintenance engineers, examination system, issuance of homologation certificates, airworthiness directives, environmental certificates, aircraft and aircraft ownership registration, accident and incident management, air operators, maintenance companies, flight schools, maintenance schools, production companies, design companies, airfields and flight simulators, among other functions. 

No less important is to recognize that this technological effort is not a unilateral undertaking of the CAIA, since the industry is involved as a result of the sector agreeing on the importance of having tools that generate benefits for the regulator of the aviation industry in Mexico. This support undoubtedly also will generate a benefit for the entire aviation sector. 

This great effort will turn the AFAC into an aeronautical authority that will meet the needs of the industry in the country by digitalizing, adopting leading technological standards and complying with the international regulatory framework. Once implemented, e-AFAC will offer the following advantages: it will be a large, virtual library containing all the national aeronautical regulations, digitized and referenced; it will serve as a digital portal for interaction with users, where they will be able to carry out the tasks associated with the reception, evaluation and issuance of applications for all types of permits, licenses and aeronautical certificates; it will reduce response times and provide total transparency of the processes, strengthen the verification and operational supervision capacity of all commands, while also allowing the generation of reports and consultation of statistics in real time; as well as reinforcing the strategic planning process, providing databases and analysis and reporting tools (Dashboards) that will allow users to perform a risk identification and mitigation function related to the security of the whole sector.

Advancing the transformation and modernization of the CAIA is an immediate need on which the public and private sector agree. It was necessary to generate mechanisms and actions that allow the CAIA to reach high standards of leading technological development because the world is immersed in the digital era, and to obviate that or not to make use of the available technological tools could be detrimental to the development of a sector.  Therefore, AFAC is betting on the integral e-AFAC system. e-AFAC will be a facilitator of procedures, processes and changes of perspective within the aviation authority, becoming a tool for the automation of processes in the supervision and monitoring of the various actors in the civil aviation environment, which is a determining factor in achieving safer aviation but also a more efficient and economical industry.

Photo by:   Rodrigo Vásquez