Africa boosting safety training

Stressing that safety is the most urgent con-cern faced by Africa’s aviation industry, Giovanni Bisignani, Iata’s CEO, says a number of African airlines have already been black-listed by some European countries, Bisignani says Iata prefers to work with airlines and gov-ernments to improve safety standards. “African airlines are IATA’s first priority and we’re moving fast to assist,” reports Bisignani. “Partnership for safety seminars have already been held in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dakar and Lagos, while a session is scheduled for Libreville. But we need to see more com-mitment from airlines and their governments.” Bisignani says he is “worried and disap-pointed” that out of 140 airlines representing nearly 70 percent of total world air traffic that had successfully passed the audit, only three are in Africa: Egyptair, Kenya Airways and South African Airways. Iata is making it a priority to improve the safety standards of African airlines and reduce the number of fatal crashes on the continent, Bisignani says, pointing out that 25 percent of all accidents in which aircraft were lost last year occurred in Africa, although the continent accounted for just 4,5 percent of global air traf-fic. “I want to see all of Africa’s carriers in the Iata Operational Safety Audit process by our next annual meeting in June,” says Bisignani. “And I encourage Africa’s governments to make good use of the OSA to strengthen their regulations and pay more attention to safety.” The secretary-general of the Africa Airlines Association, Christian Folly-Fossi, has called for the banning of old east European and for-mer Soviet Union aircraft from Africa. A survey probing the training needs of air-lines in developing countries, the International Training Fund (IATF) found that African air-lines perceive an urgent need for additional training. “The airline industry is developing new busi-ness models and new global alliances in response to customer demands and cost pres-sures. The industry changes are fast; there is a danger that African carriers will be unable to keep pace with adverse consequences unless an upgrading of skills across a wide range of levels and functions is initiated.” ‘ AFP The survey concludes that it is beyond the capability of many African carriers to meet these needs from their own resources because of a lack of experience and finance. Priority should be given to skills upgrading of training man-agers and instructors and to the upper executive levels. –

April 2006
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