The Global Impact of Improving Aviation Safety in Africa

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Andre Tchouamo


Aviation safety has been a pillar of the aviation industry since the early 20th century when the Wright brothers made their historic maiden flight. Air transport has increased exponentially since then, with tons of cargo and millions of passengers moving monthly around the world. This increase in flights has made it imperative to reduce the number of accidents and incidents and to achieve the same level of aviation safety worldwide, but that has not been the case in Africa. Organizations like the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have fostered aviation safety since the 1940s. More recently, in 2001, ICAO published Annex 19 on Safety Management, which provides standards and recommended practices under the safety management system (SMS) and the state safety program (SSP). In January 2018, the African Union launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which presents a great opportunity for the improvement of aviation safety in Africa. Based on data from various aviation organizations and on-the-ground experiences in the past decade spearheading many aviation projects in Africa, the author, a 30-year aviation veteran with expertise in aviation safety, provides a fresh analysis of the state of aviation safety on this vast and rich continent of 54 countries. Key issues and practical solutions to those issues are presented while highlighting the global interconnectivity of aviation safety with the goal of enhancing the efforts of the various stakeholders working to raise the level of aviation safety in Africa. 

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