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Published on : Monday, November 25, 2013
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) renewed its call for African governments to focus on adoption and adherence to global standards to assure a safe, efficient and integrated air transport system. Connectivity is critical for African growth and development, supporting some 6.7 million jobs and $68 billion in economic activity. Aviation’s economic and social benefits, however, can be undermined by the unintended consequences of government action which are not aligned with the established framework of global standards.
“Global standards are the foundation upon which a safe, secure, and integrated global air transport system are built. The system is so reliable that we don’t often think about the enormous coordination that makes it possible. That is why we need to remind governments of the value of global standards that support aviation and the vibrancy of their economies,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. The remarks were made in an address to the African Airlines Association’s 45th Annual General Assembly which is being held in Mombasa, Kenya.
Safety is the prime example of what can be achieved with a consistent, global approach. The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is the global standard for airline operational safety management. Over the decade since it was established, there is a clear trend that the aggregate safety performance of airlines on the registry is superior to those airlines that are not on the registry. African airlines on the IOSA registry are performing in line with global averages. And in 2012 there was not a single Western-built jet hull loss by any of IATA’s 25 African member airlines.
“Improving safety is the biggest issue on the African agenda, and global standards play a crucial role in this area. Last year, nearly half of the fatalities on Western-built jets occurred in Africa. African governments recognized the need to improve safety in the Abuja Declaration’s goal of reaching world-class safety levels by 2015. IATA is actively contributing its expertise and resources to all the Abuja Declaration’s commitments,” said Tyler.
Key elements of the Abuja declaration include the completion of IOSA by all African carriers, the establishment of independent and sufficiently funded civil aviation authorities and the implementation of effective and transparent safety oversight systems. To broaden the base of IOSA carriers (outside of IATA’s membership), IATA is working with the International Airlines Training Fund to provide in-house training for ten African airlines.
“Governments must also up their game with more effective safety oversight. As of the end of 2012 only 11 African states had achieved 60% implementation of ICAO’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS) according to the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP). There has been some significant progress. But, to be very frank, overall I have not yet seen sufficient urgency in dealing with this fundamental issue. Meeting the Abuja Declaration’s 2015 commitment will require a major acceleration in the pace of implementation,” said Tyler.