2016 Africa Aviation Accident free year: Stakeholders give kudos to improved regulation and human capital development

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Elder Gbenga Olowo and other panelists at the Aviation Day in Lagos at the Akwaaba Travel Market

Improved regulations oversight, use of newer and younger aircraft fleet and more budget set aside for aircraft maintenance costs as responsible for the zero fatalities recorded in 2016.
President, aviation Roundtable safety Initiative and sabre network West Africa, elder Gbenga Olowo while delivering a paper, entitled: 2016 Africa Aviation Accident Free Year, ” What did Africa Do Right” at the 13th AKWAABA African Travel Market Aviation Day, organized by Africa Travel Quaterly Magazine in Lagos, said enhanced crew training, availability of low funds through financial institutions as well as more economic lease and purchase conditions from aircraft supplies were also responsible.
He noted that intensified human capital development through routine and schedule training for all pilots as well as the implementation of Safety Management System (SMS), has significantly contributed to zero fatalities for African carriers.

Olowo emphasized that the international operations safety audit (IOSA), organised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), adopted by many African carriers in their certification process had played a huge role in the safety record of African carriers.

He said statistics released by IATA in 2016 indicates that of the 3.8 billion travellers that flew 40.4 million flights, accident and fatalities declined .
Olowo said Africa recorded zero per cent fatalities in 2016 compared to two point fifty per cent rate between 2011 and 2015 for jet operations.
But, turboprop operations in Africa recorded one point fifty six per cent in 2016 as opposed to 10.51 per cent between 2011 and 2015.
Olowo said : ” The necessary and sufficient condition for safety rests permanently with a responsible operator and a responsible regulator will not settle for less.”

According to him, the significant improvement in accident rate for African carriers between 2016 and 2017 could be be traceable to continued advocacy for improved aviation infrastructure as well as acceleration of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), safety standards and recommended practices.

On failure of airlines, the ART president said airlines have failed because of the harsh economic situation linked to government unstable policies and owner-manager syndrome.

He said : ” The death of many Nigerian carriers were propelled mainly by economic factors, including government policy and the harsh operating environment. Accidents do not lead to the death of airlines, mainly it is unstable government policy. Airlines die due mainly 60 per cent owing to operating environmental factors.
” For the national carrier proposed by government to work, government should not have any equity in it. The current airlines should consolidate without losing their individual identity.

Other participants at the event, commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB represented by the head public affairs, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi and the president, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), Bernard Bankole, listed improved regulation ; industry research; information sharing among African aviation and international safety bodies as well as effective collaboration and the the use of technology and making Safety Management System as a way of life by airlines had contributed immensely to this feat.

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