There's continued improvement in safety standards of airlines across the African continent according to data released recently by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). There was safety improvements on the long term, but an increase in accidents compared to 2017 in terms of safety. Indeed, it is not all gloomy in aviation safety, a broader dataset over a longer period shows it's not as worse as projected.
According to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, "Last year some 4.3 billion passengers flew safely on 46.1 million flights. 2018 was not the extraordinary year that 2017 was. However, flying is safe, and the data tell us that it is getting safer. For example, if safety in 2018 had remained at the same level as 2013, there would have been 109 accidents instead of 62; and there would have been 18 fatal accidents, instead of the 11 that actually occurred."
4.3 billion passengers flew safely on 46.1 million flights in 2018. For every 5.4 million jet flights, there was 1 accident. The all accident rate was 1.35 per 1 million flights which by implication suggests that there was 1 accident out of 740,000 flights.
Airlines Safety Performance In Africa 2018
"For a third consecutive year, airlines in Sub-Saharan Africa experienced zero jet hull losses and zero fatalities in jet operations. The all accident rate was 2.71, a significant improvement over the rate of 6.80 for the previous five years. Africa was the only region to see a decline in the all-accident rate compared to 2017. However, the region experienced 2 fatal turboprop accidents, neither of which involved a scheduled passenger flight."
This improvement is not unconnected to policy frameworks, capacity building and maintenance of hardware components, including processes that ensures safety among many African countries. Yes, there's room for improvement.
The all accident rate was 2.71, a significant improvement over the rate of 6.80 for the previous five years. Africa was the only region to see a decline in the all-accident rate compared to 2017. However, the region experienced 2 fatal turboprop accidents, neither of which involved a scheduled passenger flight. Turboprop aircraft accident represented 24% of all accidents in 2018 and 45% of fatal accidents - 1.9% in Africa, better than the 5.69 recorded between 2013-2017.
“We continue to progress in the region toward world-class levels of safety. But, despite improvement there is still a gap to cover in the safety performance of the continent’s turboprop fleet. Global standards such as the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) are making a difference. Counting all accidents, the performance of African airlines on the IOSA registry was more than twice as good as non-IOSA airlines in the region.
IATA represents around 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.
“In parallel, African governments must accelerate the implementation of ICAO’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS). As of year-end 2017, only 26 African countries had at least 60% SARPS implementation. They also should incorporate IOSA into their safety oversight systems,” said de Juniac.
IATA defines an accident as an event where ALL of the following criteria are satisfied:
*Person(s) have boarded the aircraft with the intention of flight (either flight crew or passengers).
*The intention of the flight is limited to normal commercial aviation activities, specifically scheduled/charter passenger or cargo service. Executive jet operations, training, maintenance/test flights are all excluded.
*The aircraft is turbine-powered and has a certificated Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of at least 5,700KG (12,540 lbs.).
*The aircraft has sustained major structural damage exceeding $1 million or 10% of the aircraft's hull reserve value, whichever is lower, or has been declared a hull loss.
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