IATA determined to help improve aviation safety in Africa

7th December 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is the global representative body for the airline industry, “is still very focused on Africa”, assured IATA regional VP Africa and Middle East Kamil Alawadhi in a virtual media briefing on Thursday. He highlighted IATA’s Focus Africa initiative, which has six priority areas – in IATA’s order, safety, aviation infrastructure, connectivity, finance and distribution, environmental sustainability, and the development of future skills.

Safety ranked first and was a big priority for Focus Africa. “Unfortunately, Africa remains the worst [region] when it comes to safety,” he pointed out. The accident rate per million sectors flown this year had been 8.87, as against the global average of 0.82. Both figures were improvements over 2022, when the accident rate for Africa had been 10.88, and for the world, 1.33. The average accident rate for Africa over the period 2018 to 2022 had been 6.25, while the global average had been (again) 1.33.

There was, however, a very significant difference in the safety records of carriers on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry and those that were not. This year, African IOSA-certified airlines suffered an accident rate per million sectors flown of 3.52, while the figure for non-IOSA-certified African carriers had been 17.95. In 2022, these numbers had been 3.95 and 19.37, respectively. Over the period 2018 to 2022, the average accident rate for African IOSA airlines had been 2.47, while that for African non-IOSA carriers had been 10.69.

Alawadhi pointed out that IATA had done a lot of work on aviation safety in Africa and was continuing to do a lot of work. He assured that the association would not rest until Africa’s accident rate was at the same level as the global average. 

“Under Focus Africa, one of the safety programmes is the Collaborative Aviation Safety Improvement Programme (CASIP),” he reported. This is a collaborative programme and was launched with 12 partners, from across the aviation industry, including intergovernmental organisations, airline associations, airframers, regulators and others, plus IATA. Members included the African Airlines Association, the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, the African Civil Aviation Commission, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation. CASIP’s first chairperson was the representative of major manufacturer Boeing (Airbus was also a member).

CASIP has ten objectives. They are – increase continent-level collaboration to improve safety; drive safety leadership and safety culture; undertake safety training and workshops across Africa; urge that industry-recognised best practices and programmes be adopted; support the implementation of State Safety Programmes; establish an environment rich in data, to allow the exchange of aviation safety data and information; identify aviation infrastructure deficiencies and form part of the solution, to push Safety Improvement Initiatives; set up an aviation safety development funding programme; develop new ways to solve “complex and innovative problems”, yet adhering to recognised best practices; and support the implementation of initiatives to enhance safety.

To these ends, CASIP has three predominant work streams. They are operational safety; training, capacity building and improvement monitoring; and the Safety Issue Review Meeting (SIRM) Africa, a regional edition of IATA’s global SIRM initiative. SIRM is an annual meeting for aviation safety professionals (from all segments of the industry) to discuss safety risks, hazards, and lessons learned. 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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