IATA has launched a ‘make-or-break’ effort to unlock Africa’s latent aviation potential, convening a gathering of more than 400 top-level industry stakeholders in Addis Ababa, to explore pathways for a collaborative approach to resolving the safety and connectivity bottlenecks dogging the continent. IATA tables its ‘Marshal plan’ for safer aviation in Africa
Through the Collaborative Aviation Safety Improvement Program (CASIP) that was launched at the event, IATA seeks to reduce the accident and serious incident rate across Africa through partnerships with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), airframer Boeing and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
Jointly, the CASIP partners will prioritize the most pressing safety concerns on the continent and rally the resources needed to address them. IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh says improving aviation safety and connectivity through a liberalized air services licensing regime and harmonized safety oversight, are key to unlocking Africa’s overall development.
“Safe, efficient and reliable air connectivity is a major driving contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In that sense, CASIP will make it clear to governments across the continent that aviation must be prioritized as an integral part of national development strategies. With such broad benefits at stake, we hope that other parties will be encouraged to join the CASIP effort,” he said.
The entry point for safety improvement is in the effective use of global standards for safety, measured by the extent to which governments are implementing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS). According to Walsh, data for 2022 reveals “considerable room for improvement with only 28 of 54 African states reaching an effective implementation rate for ICAO SARPS of 60% or higher.”
Provide safety training
Among others, CASIP will seek to identify deficiencies in operational safety and implement corrective action plans, provide safety training and workshops continent-wide and promote a data-driven approach to safety performance with emphasis on making safety data available to decision-makers and ensuring efficient accident and incident reporting.
Timothy Arel, the Chief Operating Officer at the United States Federal Aviation Administration said while the FAA was committed to making African aviation safer, there was a need for openness in African accident investigations. “The key is continuous improvement but we will only get there by being honest and transparent,” Arel said.
Citing the example of Latin America, Walsh says Africa does not need “to reinvent the wheel to deliver the needed results,” but commits to working in tandem. “Collaborative safety teams in Latin America have demonstrated that safety improves when government and industry work together to implement global standards. By working together, the partners will pool resources to have a greater impact on areas where risk can be reduced, leading to measurable improvements in safety,” said Walsh.