Santiago, Chile - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today called for the Latin American aviation industry to redouble its efforts to drive down the accident rate in the region and better coordinate safety regulations in a keynote address delivered by IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani at the Wings of Change conference. The accident rate in Latin America fell from one accident for every 400,000 flights in 2005 to one accident for every 600,000 flights in 2007 but it still remains double the global average.

Two Latin American governments - Brazil and Panama - took a significant step to improve safety today by committing to incorporate the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) into their respective national safety oversight programmes. IOSA is the global standard for aviation safety management. It is a membership requirement for IATA members but is available to all airlines. IATA announced today there are 20 Latin American airlines on the IOSA registry with eight more in the quality control process.

Brazil and Panama join Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico, which are the other three Latin American countries to incorporate IOSA into their aviation safety programmes. “IOSA is fully funded by IATA for our members and it is free for any government to use. There are no more excuses for anyone in the industry that is not participating in the IOSA programme. Five Latin American countries participating in IOSA are not enough. It is crucial that more states join quickly for the benefit of our members and passengers,” Bisignani said.

In the address to aviation leaders, Bisignani called for immediate action to reverse a dangerous trend of diverging safety regulations across individual countries in the region. There are more than 250 safety deficiencies with regard to ICAO standards in the region.

“This is unacceptable and must be improved immediately. Cooperation and a broader view based on global standards are necessary to address unique infrastructure challenges and upgrade the ageing and insufficient air traffic control technology. Safety knows no borders and safety regulation must converge again,” Bisignani said.

Full text of Bisignani's speech

Notes for Editors:

  • IATA represents some 240 airlines comprising 94% of scheduled international traffic
  • There are 20 Latin American IATA member airlines on the IOSA registry and 8 more are in the quality control process.