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Africa Urged To Unlock Aviation Sector's Potential For Good

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

07 September 2012


Speaking at the recent Aviation Days summit in Dakar, Senegal, the Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the industry and leaders to prioritise work towards improving safety, regional cooperation and support for infrastructure projects, to unlock the potential of the aviation sector as a force that can drive economic development and integration.

“African aviation supports 6.7 million high quality jobs and business activity totaling some USD67.8bn," IATA Director General, Tony Tyler said. "Aviation could play an even bigger role in facilitating Africa’s growth and development. To achieve this, however, we need a team effort of government and industry focused on improving safety, adopting a coordinated policy approach and implementing global standards."

The most pressing problem for African aviation today is safety, Tyler observed. In 2011, the continent experienced an average of one accident for every 305,000 flights using Western-built jet aircraft. This was an improvement over 2010, when the average was one accident for every 135,000 flights, but was still nine times worse than the global average. “It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world,” Tyler said.

Tyler noted that in May 2012, the IATA, with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and a host of other organizations committed to an Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan aimed at addressing safety deficiencies and strengthening regulatory oversight in the region by 2015. “The goal of the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan is to achieve world-class safety levels across Africa by 2015,” Tyler explained.

The Plan was endorsed as part of the ‘Abuja Declaration’ by the Ministerial meeting on Aviation Safety and Security of the African Union in July. The next step is ratification at the Assembly of the African Union in January 2013. The plan will in particular lead to:

  • The adoption and implementation of an effective and transparent regulatory oversight system;
  • Implementation of runway safety measures;
  • Training on preventing loss of control;
  • Implementation of flight data analysis (FDA); and,
  • Implementation of Safety Management Systems.

These priorities address the most pressing issues as identified through analysis by the ICAO and the IATA of Africa’s safety performance between 2006 and 2010, Tyler explained. "Runway accidents accounted for about a quarter of the accidents over the period. If we target measures to address them, we will see results that will make a difference. This has already proven to be the case with FDA. Since making FDA available to all IATA members in April 2008, deviations from optimum flight trajectories were halved for those airlines in the program. FDA improves safety, and the spirit of the Plan is to work with governments across the region to make more broadly available across Africa tools, programs and standards that will improve safety."

TAGS: Niger | aviation | audit | Madagascar | Mali | fees | Benin | Cameroon | Guinea | Senegal | Sierra Leone | Togo | standards | Guinea-Bissau | services

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