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ICAO: Africa safety plan beating its targets

posted Jul 15, 2010, 6:49 AM by Rowan Hewitt   [ updated Jul 15, 2010, 6:50 AM ]


By David Learmount

A programme for improving aviation safety oversight in African states through regional co-operation is surging ahead of its targets. The four-year first phase of the International Civil Aviation Organisation-led African Comprehensive Implementation Programme (ACIP), launched in 2007, has completed much of its work a year ahead of target, says ICAO's secretary general Raymond Benjamin.

The AFI Plan has three "focus areas": to enable states to establish and maintain an effective and sustainable safety oversight system; to assist states to resolve identified deficiencies [identified under the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme]; and to enhance the aviation safety culture in African aviation service providers.

ICAO has boosted staffing at its two African regional offices in Dakar, Senegal and Nairobi, Kenya, to help co-ordinate the plan, which largely depends on the regional pooling of safety oversight resources and expertise, thus bringing down the national cost of the exercise.

Benjamin says one of the many problems in Africa has always been that expenditure on aviation infrastructure and oversight has been low on the list of political priorities, and when officials have received their training for an inspector's job, their new skills are more highly rewarded in the private than public sectors, so they leave.

Pooling is one way of enabling expertise to be rewarded, and thus retained. The first regional authority, known as the Banjul Accord Group, consists of Nigeria, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and others agreements are in formation.

Formal recognition and adoption of the ACIP objectives going forward to 2015 is on the agenda for the ICAO assembly in Montreal in September.