KQ inks deal to improve Africa aviation safety with U.S. firm
Kenya Airways and U.S.-based GHS Aviation audit safety group has signed a deal aimed at enhancing Africa's aviation safety.
GHS President Captain George Snyder told journalists in Nairobi on Tuesday evening that under the agreement, GHS will set up a regional aviation safety audit office at Kenya
Airways training facility that will serve the African continent. "By setting up an International Air Transport Association (IATA) operational safety operation audit facility in Kenya, Africa's aviation industry will be able for the first time to access world class safety standards within the continent," Snyder said.
The agreement comes a few months after the African ministerial conference on aviation safety which was held in Abuja this year acknowledged the slow pace of the
continent's operational safety enhancements due to systemic deficiencies and lack of technically qualified personnel. GHS is one of few accredited organizations allowed to carry our IATA Operational Safety Audits (IOSA).
Snyder noted the deal will ensure the continual safety, security and reliability of Africa's air transportation industry as measured by global standards.Snyder said regional safety statistics of 2011 showed air transportation in Africa is almost nine times more dangerous as compared to the global industry's average level.
"However in the same year data indicates that African air carriers who have chosen to attain IOSA registration have safety records which are approximately equivalent to the average safety performance record by IOSA registered operators outside of Africa, " the GHS head said.
Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni said the partnership is set to bring into Africa the much needed professional standards that will improve the image of Africa's aviation industry.
The Kenyan airline was the first sub-Saharan operator to be certified under the IOSA program in 2005.
"This initiative is part of plans to bring African air transportation system safety performance to reach the global average by the 2015," he said.
African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Secretary General Dr. Elijah Chingosho said the agreement will help build the capacity of African aviation in order to ensure safe operations at a cost effectively rate. He added already 42 airlines in Africa are IOSA certified but there are scores of others that are yet to achieve this crucial certification.
"If you look at those involved in accidents they are not certified by IATA," Chingosho noted. The AFRAA official said the agreement will also make civil aviation authorities to take their safety oversight responsibilities seriously.
"We are aware that financial constraints are hampering investment in adequate aviation safety," the secretary general said.
Kenya Airways Head of Corporate Safety Alex Avedi said the end goal of the partnership is to ensure that the continents airlines meet high standards.
"All African airlines share the same airspace and so the industry will be affected whenever an accident occurs, as it will distort African airline safety statistics," Avedi said.