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IATA, ICAO endorse African aviation safety

By control on July 18, 2012

The International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organization, along with other aviation authorities, have urged African officials to promote and implement the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan. The plan, which calls for all African carriers to complete IATA Operational Safety Audit registration, contains specific ways to improve aviation safety in Africa from now until 2015.

Key objectives in the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan include the establishment of independent and well-funded African civil aviation authorities and the implementation of flight data analysis and safety management systems. IATA and ICAO also encourage African authorities to implement “transparent” safety oversight systems and accident-prevention measures; the latter should be focused on runway safety and loss of control, IATA indicated in a press release.

ICAO and IATA endorsed this plan after analyzing the high number of aircraft accidents in Africa from 2006 to 2010. Propelling these incidents, the associations found, were inadequate regulatory oversight and the lack of SMS execution. IATA and ICAO also discovered that runway excursions led to many of the accidents, although flight data analysis tools could have alerted officials of problems prior their occurrence.

IATA’s biggest objective, however, is getting African carriers on the IOSA registry. “Global standards, such as IOSA, are a proven way to improve aviation safety,” Guenther Matschnigg, IATA senior vice president, safety, operations and infrastructure, said in a statement.

In fact, Matschnigg said, the 2011 accident rate among IOSA-registered African carriers was 1.84 incidents per 1,000,000 flights — just slightly higher than the global IOSA average of 1.73 accidents. In comparison, he said, non-IOSA-registered African carriers had an incident rate of 9.31.

The statistics are even more compelling this year, Matschnigg said. As of June 30, the accident rate for Western-built jets among African carriers was 6.28, a 92-percent surge from the same period in 2011. No IOSA-registered African carriers have been in accidents so far this year, however. “Therefore, we urge the African Transport Ministers to mandate IOSA for all carriers in the region, Matschnigg said.

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