The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has reported “strong progress” in airline safety in Africa last year. This was part of a world-wide improvement in safety, revealed in the global airline industry representative organisation’s 2017 safety performance data, released on Thursday.
Last year was the second successive year in which there were no jet hull losses and no fatal accidents on the continent. And the turboprop hull loss rate, and the rates of all other accidents, declined in comparison to the average for the preceding five years.
However, 2017’s turboprop hull loss rate did increase in comparison to that of 2016 – 5.70 last year as against 1.52 in 2016. This was the main reason why the all-accident rate also increased in 2017 as against 2016, to 6.87 from 2.43.
“Airlines in sub-Saharan Africa continued to improve their safety performance,” affirmed Iata director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “The goal is to achieve world-class safety. For a second year in a row, airlines in the region experienced no passenger fatalities and no jet hull losses.”
However, there remains a large gap in the safety performance of Africa’s turboprop fleet, and this has to be filled. “Global standards such as the Iata Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) are making a difference,” he highlighted. “Counting all accidents, the performance of African airlines on the IOSA registry was more than three times better than non-IOSA airlines in the region.”
Consequently, Iata encourages African countries to include IOSA and the Iata Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) into their air safety oversight frameworks. ISSA was developed for carriers not eligible for IOSA, but can act as a one-time stepping stone to achieving full IOSA status.
“In parallel, African governments must accelerate the implementation of ICAO’s [International Civil Aviation Organisation’s] safety related standards and recommended practices (SARPS),” he urged. “As of year-end 2017, only 25 African countries had at least 60% SARPS implementation.” (ICAO is an agency of the United Nations.)