The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on African governments to focus on safety to allow aviation to drive economic and social development on the continent, enrich people's lives and enable the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG's).

African aviation IATA highlight safety
Image courtesy of IATA

Safety was one of four key areas highlighted by Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO in a keynote speech at the 51st Annual General Assembly of the African Airline Association (AFRAA) in Mauritius.

IATA highlighted three priorities to improve African aviation safety.

  • More states need to incorporate the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) into their safety oversight systems. Mozambique, Rwanda, Togo and Zimbabwe have done so.
  • Smaller operators should consider becoming IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) certified.  ISSA provides a valuable operational benchmark for carriers not eligible for IOSA.
  • African states need to implement ICAO standards and recommended practices in their regulations. Currently, only 26 states meet or exceed the threshold of 60% implementation.

"Our top priority is always safety," said de Juniac. "And we must never forget that global standards have helped to make aviation the safest form of long-distance transport. There is a good example of that in the safety performance of African airlines. The continent had no fatal jet accidents in 2016, 2017 and 2018. That is largely due to the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders with a focus on global standards, guided by the Abuja Declaration. But there is still more work to do. Taking these three steps will raise the safety bar even higher."