The Yamoussoukro Decision (YD), Africa’s main hope for speedy aviation development and sustainability of increased contributions of the aviation industry to Africa’s economic development, was further repositioned for successful implementation last year with the designation of November 13 every year as the official YD Anniversary Day celebration.
The second edition of the YD-Day celebration held 13 November 2020, jointly organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), coinciding with the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the YD.
The YD-Day will essentially keep Africa’s eyes on the ball to gauge the extent of implementation of the YD, now under the framework of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which essentially aims to achieve the liberalization of air transport in Africa for the benefit of African airlines and economies. The YD also entails the improvement of safety, security, operational standards and performance of Africa’s aviation ecosystem.
Held online on November 13, due to the COVID-19, 2020 YD-Day uncovered the enthusiasm of the industry to pursue strong industry recovery from the pandemic and unstop the speedy and continued transformation of Africa’s aviation system.
AFCAC announced it has joined forces with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) on a three-year project to provide technical support to the African airlines of States party to the SAATM to ensure that they achieve and maintain global aviation safety standards.
AFCAC assures that the initiative “is backed by the African Development Bank grant funding provided to AFCAC and is specifically for carriers in countries that have signed up to the African Union’s (AU) flagship Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) program.” AFCAC says 34 of the AU’s 55 member States have signed the commitment to establish the SAATM.
The project will identify eligible airlines, conduct gap analyses and recommend corrective actions for each participating carrier in order to prepare them for IOSA or ISSA evaluation. In addition, participating airlines’ personnel will receive quality and safety management systems training. IATA and AFRAA will also host workshops and training sessions held at their facilities in Nairobi and Johannesburg as well as AFCAC’s Conference room in Dakar, AFCAC explains.
“Depending on the size of their organization and aircraft they operate, airlines wanting to take advantage of the SAATM’s market and commercial expansion benefits are required to be certified either through IATA’s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) or its Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) programs, both of which are globally recognized and part of the African Safety Targets of Abuja Ministerial Declaration hallmarks of aviation safety. We are committed to opening up Africa’s skies through SAATM and supporting the region’s airlines in doing so,” states Mr. Tefera Mekonnen Tefera, Secretary-General of AFCAC.
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Mr. Muhammad Ali Albakri, says “this project “will also help operationalize the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and reinforce the development of sustainable commercial air transport in Africa, which is crucial to the recovery and future growth of economies throughout the continent that have been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis.”
For. Mr. Abdérahmane Berthé, Secretary General, AFRAA “The ultimate goal of the project is to improve safety levels for the airline sector in Africa, in line with the 2012 Abuja Declaration safety targets, which stipulate that all African-based airlines, attain IOSA or ISAA certification by the end of 2022.”
Several African airlines have achieved the IOSA, and ISSA – tailored for operators of smaller aircraft that are not eligible for IOSA registration; both are global operational safety benchmarks for airlines.