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IATA, ICAO Pledge to Improve Air Safety Record in Africa

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) are working together to device ways to improve safety record in Africa by proving support to the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul organisations (MROs) in the continent. This was disclosed by the CEO of African Aviation Services Limited and former Secretary of African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Nick Fadugba, who spoke at the 23rd Annual MRO Africa Conference in Johannesburg at the weekend.

Industry experts have pointed out major reasons why there are high rate of accidents in Africa, which include poor maintenance culture on the continent. They opine that many airlines in the region operate old aircraft, which demand regular checks with most not having the resources to fund the repair demands of the aircraft. Africa operates two per cent of world's air transport, but account for the highest accident record globally.

Fadubga explained that the two international bodies are collaborating with MRO service providers to ensure that accidents are significantly reduced in the continent. He also expressed optimism that improved air safety would boost air transport in Africa; describing the continent as the new frontier for development and remarked that aviation would be the key that would unlock the economic potential of the region.

“In spite of these many challenges, it is almost universally agreed that aviation holds the key to unlocking the economic and tourism potential of the African continent. What Africa urgently required is a safe, reliable, efficient and affordable air transport industry,” Fadugba said.

He noted that it was imperative that African leaders translate their lofty aspirations for economic integration and air transport connectivity into a concrete plan of action which would be rigorously implemented.

“The world’s major aircraft and engine manufacturers and other aviation suppliers remain cautiously optimistic that the African aviation industry will continue to grow. The continent’s above world average GDP growth, its huge population, growing middle class and increased inter-African travel, trade and tourism, and other positive indicators, all justify this optimism," he pointed.

Fadugba also noted that the modernisation of African airline fleets in recent years has been a welcome development, as well as the growing role of major international aviation finance and aircraft leasing companies in Africa, backed by the Cape Town Treaty (which enhances aircraft leasing for member countries).

“This has facilitated the acquisition of new technology aircraft such as Airbus A320s and A330s (with A350s on order), Boeing 737 NGs, 777s, Bombardier CRJs and Q400s, and Embraer 170s and 190s etc.”

He said in Africa, the key MRO industry players today include South African Airways Technical (SAAT), Ethiopian MRO, Egypt Air Maintenance and Engineering, Air Algerie, Tunis Air and Royal Air Maroc.

“Meanwhile, Kenya Airways and Arik AirmNigeria have signalled their intention to develop their MRO capabilities both for in-house and third party work,” Fadugba remarked.

source : http://www.thisdaylive.com

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