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IATA Pushes Safety First for African Aviation

IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac urges three steps toward safer flying on the continent.

IATA has called upon aviation companies and regulators in Africa to pursue four important goals, led by attention to safety. IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac told attendees of the African Airline Association’s general assembly in Mauritius that the continent’s aviation now generates $56 billion in economic activity, a total that is expected to double over the next two decades.

“With the right tax and regulatory framework, the opportunities aviation creates to improve people’s lives are tremendous,” Juniac said.

Making this happen will require attention to costs, free trade and gender diversity, the IATA chief argued. But the first priority must be safety.

He wants more African nations to use IATA’s Operational Safety Audit as part of their own aviation regulation. At present, only four nations, Mozambique, Rwanda, Togo and Zimbabwe, have done so.

Juniac said small African airlines that are not eligible IOSA audits should consider seeking certification by IATA’s Standard Safety Assessment. “ISSA provides a valuable operational benchmark for carriers not eligible for IOSA.”

Another move that would advance safety would be incorporating ICAO standards and recommended practices in African nations’ aviation regulations. Currently, only 26 of Africa’s 54 sovereign states have implemented at least 60% of ICAO standards and recommended practices.

In any case, Juniac acknowledged that things are improving. For example, Africa had no fatal jet accidents in 2016 through 2018. “But there is still more work to do. Taking these three steps will raise the safety bar even higher.”

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