By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has commended African airlines for improving on safety in 2017.
The apex aviation body made the commendation when it released data for the 2017 safety performance of the commercial airline industry on Thursday.
Mr Alexandre de Juniac, Director General, IATA, said Sub-Saharan Africa had continued to make strong progress on safety.
“Airlines in Sub-Saharan Africa continued to improve their safety performance; the goal is to achieve world-class safety.
“For the second year in a row, airlines in the region experienced no passenger fatalities and no jet hull losses.
“But there is still a large gap to cover in the safety performance of the continent’s turboprop fleet.
“Global standards such as the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) are making a difference.
“Counting all accidents, the performance of African airlines on the IOSA registry was more than three times better than non-IOSA airlines in the region.
“That is why we continue to encourage African nations to incorporate IOSA and the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) into their safety oversight systems,’’ De-Juniac said.
According to him, ISSA, which is intended for those carriers that are not eligible for IOSA, also offers one-term opportunity to operators of aircraft that would fall under IOSA, enabling an incremental approach to achieving IOSA.
He urged African governments to, however, accelerate the implementation of ICAO’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS).
According to him, as of year-end 2017, only 25 African countries had at least 60 per cent SARPS implementation.
On the global scale, the DG noted that 2017 was a very good year for the aviation safety, stressing that some 4.1 billion travellers flew safely on 41.8 million flights.
“We saw improvements in nearly all key metrics — globally and in most regions.
“Our determination is to make this industry even safer.
“In 2017, there were incidents and accidents that we will learn from through the investigation process, just as we will learn from the recent tragedies in Russia and Iran.
“Complementing that knowledge is the insight we can gain from the millions of flights that operate safety.’’
De-Juniac further said that data from those operations was powering the development of predictive analytics that would eventually help in eliminating conditions that can lead to accidents.
“The industry knows that every fatality is a tragedy,’’ he said.
IATA’s common g