Improving Safety Oversight
Safety and security remain top priorities. Safety in Africa had been improving, but IATA figures show Africa had an accident rate of 9.94 (measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jet aircraft) in 2009, significantly higher than the 2008 rate of 2.12
There were five Western-built jet hull losses with African carriers in 2009. African carriers are 2% of global traffic, but 26% of global western-built jet hull losses.
Such statistics are doubtless hurting the carriers in southern Africa. “Aside from the obvious impact on passenger numbers, particularly in the high-yield, international sector, insurance premiums remain high, codeshare and other agreements grow in complexity and private sector investment becomes harder to find,” says Lance Brogden, IATA Regional Vice President.
Achieving satisfactory oversight regimes would greatly facilitate the development of air services. “Good safety oversight is essential if Africa is to improve its safety record,” Brogden continues. “Southern Africa is better off than other areas of the continent, but you can never rest where safety is concerned. All stakeholders are working hard to enhance the high standards already in place.”
IATA’s Operational Safety Audit will be key. The association has offered free consultancy to help airlines meet the IOSA standard, which represents global best practice in operational safety management. Already, 18 sub-Saharan airlines are on the registry.
“Safety is our number one priority,” says Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO. “Flying must be safe everywhere—including Africa. IOSA is a great tool that is delivering results for African carriers. The story is in the numbers. The accident rate for non-IATA carriers in Africa is about 2.5 times worse than for IATA carriers. We have lots of work to do.”