Recently, the International Air Transport Association, IATA launched the Collaborative Aviation Safety Improvement Program (CASIP) to improve aviation safety in Africa as a key part of its broad Focus Africa initiative. Aviation is a safety critical sector; therefore, we applaud any initiative to advance safety, especially on the African continent. It is equally very heartwarming that one of the planks of this initiative is the anticipated collaboration between governments on the continent and industry to prioritize safety and mobilize the needed resources for continuing the improvement of safety in Africa.
Whereas the continent’s aviation safety record has improved over the years, this renewed focus on safety is welcome. Africa therefore cannot afford any slip but must continue on the trajectory of positive safety performance. This is even as IATA says “Data for the year 2022 reveals considerable room for improvement with only 28 of 54 African states reaching an effective implementation rate for ICAO SARPS of 60% or higher.”
Furthermore, together with the implementation of the CASIP initiative, there is a legitimate expectation among aviation stakeholders in Africa that the continent should begin to reap the tangible and measurable benefits of improved safety on the continent in terms of friendlier aircraft lease and insurance terms, as well as the removal of other unfavourable financial conditions that hamper the growth of air transport in Africa. This relief will encourage governments and the stakeholders to continue on the path.
Another equally important area of focus is the high cost of air travel in Africa, particularly in the West and Central Africa regions. These regions have achieved a notoriety for high airfares which is chiefly as a result of high charges, fees and taxes levied by service providers and governments. There is no gainsaying that high ticket cost is a major disincentive to air travel on the continent.
On this note, we join the call on governments across Africa to recognize air transport as an enabler of national economic growth and refrain from taking measures that would asphyxiate the industry. More efforts need to be put in to tackle this unwholesome situation conclusively. Africa already has the major problem of poor connectivity; high cost of air travel only serves to worsen a bad situation.
We commend the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO’s sustained efforts to drive the inclusion of more women in aviation through the “Call To Action” at the recently-concluded ICAO Global Aviation Gender Summit in Madrid and hope that the resolutions give the industry the needed shot in the arm for inclusive development.
The August-September 2023 edition of your industry publication, Aviation & Allied Business Journal presents materials on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones): we feature an article on drone regulation in Nigeria and an interview with Mr. Kush Gadhia, Managing Director of Astral Aerial Solutions, Kenya a leading provider of drone services in Africa. RPAS presents huge opportunities for Africa in logistics, healthcare and agriculture, amongst others.
In this edition you would equally read our interview with the President of Airports Council International (ACI) Africa, the leading voice for African airports, Mr. Emanuel Chaves and other incisive articles.
We wish you happy reading.
Capt. Edward Boyo