Improving air safety in Africa
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) urge Ministers attending the African Ministerial Meeting on Aviation Safety being held in Abuja, Nigeria to endorse and adopt the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan. The plan will enhance safety by addressing deficiencies and strengthening regulatory oversight in the region progressively to 2015.
The Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan calls for the:
Establishment of independent and sufficiently funded civil aviation authorities.
Implementation of effective and transparent safety oversight systems by all African States.
Completion of an IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) by all African carriers.
Implementation of accident prevention measures focused on runway safety and loss of control.
Implementation of Flight Data Analysis (FDA).
Implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS) by all service providers.
IATA, ICAO and leading aviation stakeholders and regulatory organizations committed to this plan following the Africa Safety Summit held in Johannesburg in May 2012. The key areas were developed based on an analysis of air transport accidents in Africa between 2006-2010 conducted by IATA and ICAO. This analysis identified that the main contributing factors to accidents were insufficient regulatory oversight and the lack of SMS implementation. Implementation of tools such as FDA could have pinpointed precursors to the major accident types, namely runway excursions, controlled flight into terrain and loss of control. Runway excursions alone accounted for about a quarter of African accidents. This plan must also include the urgent resolution of all identified Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs) and the certification of all international airports.
“For ICAO, States with significant safety concerns are a priority, and I cannot stress enough that they should be the priority of all stakeholders,” emphasized ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh González.
Several ongoing IATA and ICAO initiatives and programs contribute towards the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan:
ICAO has placed specific emphasis on urgently addressing all identified SSCs by 2013 and adopting and implementing an effective safety oversight system. ICAO is working with African States whose audit results under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme require improvement. ICAO and those States developed Tailored Plans of Action that will outline the series of steps necessary to improve regulatory capabilities, and therefore safety. Simultaneously, ICAO and IATA hosted a one-day workshop on the steps necessary to address SSCs.
IATA, ICAO and other international organizations have developed a Runway Safety Program with a series of workshops being held worldwide. The next African event is 29-30 October 2012, in Cape Town. An event is planned for Western Africa in March 2013. The Runway Safety Toolkit is available on both the IATA and ICAO websites, free of charge.
The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), which is a requirement for membership in IATA, includes standards that provide a baseline SMS assessment. “Global standards such as IOSA are a proven way to improve aviation safety. In 2011, Africa-based operators on the IOSA registry had an accident rate of 1.84 per million flights, which is close to the world IOSA average of 1.73. By comparison non-IOSA operators in Africa had an accident rate of 9.31,” said Guenther Matschnigg, IATA Senior Vice President, Safety, Operations and Infrastructure. “The 2012 Western-built Jet accident rate for Africa as of 30 June was 6.28 which is 92 % higher than last year at the same time. This increase in the accident rate reflects the two tragic accidents in Nigeria last month that remind us that safety is a constant challenge — even in states with a solid safety leadership. However, no IOSA registered carriers based in Africa have been involved in accidents in 2012 at the time of this report, confirming the efficiency of complying with the audit’s 900 + standards. Therefore we urge the African Transport Ministers to mandate IOSA for all carriers in the region, “said Matschnigg.
The use of FDA is another key tool to improve safety. The IATA Implementation Program for Safe Operations in Africa (IPSOA) ensured that flight data analysis tools are available to all IATA carriers in Africa. “Participating carriers have seen a 56% reduction in deviations from optimum flight trajectories and the top five airports with unstable approaches have also been identified,” said Matschnigg.
ICAO has just released an updated Safety Management Manual which provides significant new guidance on the State Safety Program, the segment targeted for regulators. This document, and resulting training, will assist all ICAO States in implementing safety management.
The funding of the proposed action plan will be shared according to the functions and responsibilities of the entities involved in each initiative.