The past five years has seen huge strides in the improvement of aviation safety in Africa.
This was the assessment of International Air Transport Association (IATA) Senior Vice President of Safety and Flight Operations, Gilberto López Meyer.
In a report, López Meyer stressed that commercial air travel remains to be the safest kind of long distance transformation.
Research conducted by IATA has uncovered that the overall trend in global air safety is on the rise. A survey of airline safety over the past five and a half also showed that IATA members had a lower accident rate than non-IATA members. They also had a lower accident rate compared to the industry average.
“We constantly strive to ensure standards of safety are maintained and improved,” said López Meyer.
Additionally, IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registered airlines outclassed non-IOSA carriers from 2012 to 2017.
The IOSA audit takes a close look at many areas of operator systems to make sure the highest standards are complied with. As of November 21, the IOSA registry had 427 airlines. Of these, 281 are members of the IATA.
“While no operational standard will never have an event, the data show that operators who maintain IOSA standards have better a safety performance over time,” reported López Meyer.
Citing Africa as an example, the accident rate is 1.18 for IOSA registered carriers while the figure is a staggering 9.79 for non-IOSA airlines.
One of IATA’s missions is to make more effective use of data to categorize risks to safety and develop strategies, in order to mitigate them. IATA is working with different organizations from all over the world to carry this mission out.
“Safety is everyone’s business and we look forward to increasing this collaboration,” added López Meyer.
IATA also has meteorological projects (MET), which seek to minimize the impact of turbulence and improve global and regional weather forecasts.
Turbulence is considered to be the leading cause of injuries to airline passengers and crew globally, said López Meyer.
IATA is at the moment working on a framework for a turbulence-sharing platform in partnership with several airlines and industry shareholders. It would most likely be used in 2019.
IATA is also partnering with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to improve global weather forecasts. The WMO already gathers real-time wind and temperature data from 40 different airlines from across the globe.
According to López Meyer, this is the most important source of data for forecasting weather all over the world second only to satellite-based observations.
There is, however, a limited number of participating airlines, so a lot of areas are not being monitored.
The main benefit of the IATA MET project is to improve safety by minimizing turbulence related injuries, lessen fuel burn, and reduce carbon emissions and lower cost to airlines, all through more precise flight planning.