Championing Regional Safety Coordination for Better Skies in Africa
Safety is one of the priority strategic objectives of the Association. That is one of the reasons why AFRAA is championing the regional safety coordination for Better Skies in Africa. This policy paper summarises AFRAA’s position relating to safety improvement in Africa.
2. Africa Safety Status
Africa’s performance with regards to safety has been impressive over the past couple of years. However, the safety issues still act as impediments to the realisation of the potential high traffic growth rates projected for Africa. As a result of these concernes, African ministers in charge of Aviation adopted the Abuja Aviation Safety Targets in 2012.
Since then, the joint endeavors of the stakeholders are yielding encouraging safety results. During three consecutive years (2016, 2017, and 2018), no hull loss of a jet aircraft occurred in a commercial flight in the Region.
A buddy system between European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) inspectors and those of the AFCAC AFI-CIS (Africa and Indian Ocean – Cooperative Inspectors Scheme) could make a positive difference in increasing the number of African States achieving the relevant Abuja Safety Targets.
3. AFRAA Regional Safety Approach
To address public perception about the safety of African operators, aviation stakeholders need to continue with their coordinated efforts to safeguard the commendable performance achieved from 2016 to 2018.
The requirement of 60% performance for Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) implementation underlines Africa’s commitment to maintaining safety as the first aviation priority in the Region.
Therefore, AFRAA articulates its safety strategy based on the five pillars towards the strengthening of safety in flight operations in Africa.
Pillar 1: Cooperative Approach in Safety Improvement in Africa – Abuja Safety Targets
AFRAA urges States to ensure the implementation of all the Abuja Aviation Safety Targets.
AFRAA keeps abreast of all aspects of Africa’s safety improvement through its participation in Regional Aviation Safety Group (RASG-AFI) activities and other regional safety initiatives. In the framework of its Technical, Operations, and Training Committee, AFRAA coordinates with operators and disseminates their challenges at the regional meetings, and encourages the sharing of safety data among operators.
Pillar 2: Operational Compliance of African carriers with International standards
AFRAA requires a successful IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) or IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) for any airline to be admitted as a member of the Association. Therefore, AFRAA assists African airlines for IOSA or ISSA preparedness. As the number of African airlines on both IOSA and ISSA Registries increases,the safety standards and performance on the continent are enhanced.
AFRAA extends associate membership to African airlines operating small aircraft that are not eligible for IOSA. In order to furrher enhance safety in the operations of African airlines, AFRAA is committed to promoting IOSA, ISSA, IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO), and IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM).
Beyond IATA initiatives, AFRAA encourages airports, air navigation service providers, and CAAs to improve their respective compliance with international standards through the relevant assessments.
Pillar 3 Data-driven Safety Management
AFRAA believes that its members need to embrace the industry trend related to the utilisation of “big data and artificial intelligence.” AFRAA has established a data department in the Secretariat to facilitate air transport analyses, including safety.
To introduce the data-driven decision-making process in the industry, AFRAA plans and conducts courses on Quality Management System (QMS) and Safety Management System (SMS) every year. It is AFRAA’s view that the consistent practice of SMS, including Flight Data Monitoring and Analysis (FDMA), will enhance operational safety performance in Africa.
Pillar 4: Infrastructure Safety
Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) Air Traffic Service (ATS) Incident Analysis Group (AIAG) is a multi-stakeholder collaboration aimed at identifying and addressing the causal factors for aviation safety occurrences resulting in the loss of separation in the AFI Region.
AFRAA urges its members to report ATS incidents in the Flight Information Regions (FIRs) where they occur and send copies of these reports to the IATA Regional Office in Johannesburg to populate the regional ATS incident database. AFRAA Secretariat is engaged in the multi-stakeholder collaboration annual activities to participate in the continuous improvement of infrastructure safety in Africa.
In the framework of its Technical, Operations, and Training Committee, AFRAA collects ground operation safety challenges with the view to conveying the same to the airports. Due to the prominence of runway related accidents in Africa, the Secretariat urges member airlines to participate in Runway Safety Teams (RST) at various airports.
Pillar 5: Fleet Modernization
Backed by the Cape Town Convention, African airlines have access to modern fleet through the exploration of the “African Development Bank (AfDB) Framework and Guidelines to Support the Aviation Sector,” the existing Export Credit Agencies (ECA), and aircraft lessors.
AFRAA urges member airlines to engage in fleet modernization in efforts towards the improvement of public perception of their image and enhance their operational performance.
Air transport stimulates regional integration, and it remains instrumental in supporting trade and tourism development in Africa. A negative safety perception will adveresley impact the contributions of air transport to the economic development of the Region. Safety is improving continuously since 2012 towards the Abuja Aviation Safety Targets.
AFRAA believes that African aviation will perform better safety performance even faster; it requires that aviation stakeholders continue coordinated efforts in line with the five pillars:
• Cooperative Approach in Safety Improvement in Africa – Abuja Safety Targets;
• Operational Compliance of African carriers with International standards;
• Data-driven Safety Management
• Infrastructure Safety and;
• Fleet Modernization.