African air safety “needs work” – IATA

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The 2012 global accident rate for Western-built jets was the lowest in aviation history, statistics released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show, but “there is still work to do” according to Director General Tony Tyler.

This is particularly true of Africa, where the hull loss rate for 2012 was 3.71 per million flights of Western-built jets, versus the previous reporting term’s rate of 3.27 per million flights. “Africa is still the worst performer by a large margin,” Tyler said.

The global figure was 0.20, the equivalent of one accident every five million flights.

Africa’s accident rate for all aircraft types more than doubled from the 2011 figure of 6.17 to 12.44 accidents per million flights in 2012, IATA said. There were 13 aircraft accidents on the continent last year up from eight in 2011.
“Africa is a continent divided on performance. Airlines on the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit Registry) are performing at or above industry average rates. But the continent’s performance is far from satisfactory. It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world,” Tyler said.

The global accident rate of 0.20 is a 46% improvement over 2011 when the accident rate was 0.37 or one accident every 2.7 million flights.

Last May IATA, with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and other organisations, committed to an Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan aimed at addressing safety deficiencies and strengthening regulatory oversight in the region by 2015. The Plan was endorsed as part of the Abuja Declaration by the AU Ministerial meeting on Aviation Safety and Security in July and endorsed at the AU Assembly two months ago.
“Stakeholders are united in their commitment to bring all of Africa to world class safety levels through the adoption of global standards. Passage of the Abuja Declaration is a key step along this path,” Tyler said.

Critical to the success of this plan is mandatory adoption of IOSA by African states. Airlines on IOSA experienced zero Western-built jet hull losses during the year under review, IATA said. The total accident rate (all aircraft types) for IOSA registered carriers was 4.3 times better than non-IOSA carriers.
“IOSA again demonstrated its positive impact on aviation safety. Carriers on the IOSA registry recorded an accident rate more than four times better than their non-registered counterparts. Not only did IOSA registered carriers have a lower accident rate but the accidents were less severe in terms of fatalities and damage to aircraft,” said Tyler.

Runway excursions where an aircraft departs a runway during landing or takeoff were the most common type of accident in 2012 (28% of total accidents). Eighty-two percent of them occur following a stable approach where the aircraft floated beyond normal touchdown point, or braking devices did not activate in a timely manner, or because directional control was not maintained after landing.

This type of accident continues to present challenges for the industry. Despite an increase in the runway excursion accident rate in 2012, the five-year trend in actual accidents remains downward (2008:28, 2009:23, 2010:20, 2011:17, 2012:21).

This year IATA will continue to work with industry partners to support regional runway safety seminars and update the IATA Runway Excursion Risk Reduction (RERR) toolkit. IOSA also requires that airlines make use of Flight Data Analysis (FDA) programmes to help identify precursors to runway excursions.

Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I) is not one of the most common accident categories (In 2008 there were 14 LOC-I accidents followed by 2009:9, 2010:10, 2011:8, 2012:6) but LOC-I accidents result in most fatalities (43% of all fatal accidents and 60% of all fatalities from 2008-2012).



IATA is working with industry partners to implement a global LOC-I prevention programme that will assist operators to understand the factors involved in these events. Additionally this programme will provide guidance for enhanced pilot training and establish a process for feedback into the IATA Training and Qualification Initiative (ITQI).